As the Bears GM search turns into its third week, the buzz builds around one head coach candidate.
Perhaps making it more intriguing is that this applicant has previous head-coaching experience.
But it might not be the one many may be clamoring to hire.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano has a set of sharable nuggets in the latest piece from the insider section of the Worldwide Leader In Sports™ football reporting wing. Among them were some serious connections to Jim Caldwell and his potential to end up with the Chicago Bears.
“According to multiple sources, the Raiders and Vikings both reached out to former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell this week to request to interview him, and he declined both requests,” Graziano reports. “This indicates strongly that Caldwell believes he will get one of the other open jobs, and my understanding is that he’s in the mix in both Chicago and Jacksonville and already is reaching out to candidates for his staff.”
This could suggest a variety of things. It could hint at Caldwell’s belief that he is getting a job with the Bears or Jaguars. Both teams have had connections to Caldwell on the rumor mill. Or perhaps Caldwell doesn’t have an interest in coaching the Vikings or Raiders. Who wants to follow that year of Raiders’ drama? Better yet, who wants to deal with the Kirk Cousins roller coaster? Perhaps it is possible that Caldwell didn’t see his interviews as being serious inquiries. And thus, shot them down. Even with modifications to the Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview multiple minority candidates for top open positions, this could be plausible.
But Graziano goes as far as to add, “If I had to bet right now, I’d say Caldwell ends up in Chicago.” And that is a bold bet to make, especially at this stage of the game. Even still … the Caldwell connections are easy to make and hard to ignore.
Firstly, he led Bill Polian’s Colts to a Super Bowl appearance and was on the staff of Indy’s championship winner. If you’ll recall, Polian is the headliner of Chicago’s search committee. Additionally, Caldwell has already interviewed for the position. Caldwell is a sensible choice if the Bears desire to rebound from the Matt Nagy era by hiring a head coach who has previous coaching experience. But he comes with some caution flags. Caldwell hasn’t coached the last two seasons while dealing with health concerns. And at the age of 67, there should be real questions regarding how much Caldwell can give — especially when weighing health concerns and age to the mix.
Nevertheless, Graziano seems willing to throw down Caldwell as his horse in the race. And that is putting me on a higher level of alertness.