The Chicago Bears are adding two new assistant coaches to Matt Nagy’s staff — as first reported by The Athletic’s Adam Jahns — and both have a history with the franchise. Henry Burris, who played quarterback for the Bears in the 2002 season, and inside linebacker John Timu, who played in Chicago from 2015 to 2017, are joining the team thanks to the Bill Walsh diversity coaching fellowship.
Since leaving the Bears, Timu played in the now defunct AAF and he was an assistant coach at his alma mater the University of Washington.
Burris’ time in Chicago came early in his professional career and while he didn’t stand out as an NFL quarterback, he’s one of the greatest players ever in the Canadian Football League. He was a part of three Grey Cup championship teams, and he was named the Grey Cup MVP in two of those games, plus he won the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Award on two separate occasions. When he retired from the CFL following the 2016 season he was third all time with 63,369 passing yards and 373 passing touchdowns.
The Bill Walsh diversity coaching fellowship was formed in 1987 and it’s “objective is to use NFL clubs’ training camps, offseason workout programs and minicamps to give talented coaches opportunities to observe, participate, gain experience,” and to “ultimately gain a full-time NFL coaching position.”
All 32 teams participate in the program as a way to increase the numbers of full-time minority coaches in the NFL. Current Bears’ running backs coach Charles London is a graduate of the program. Some other notable graduates of the program with ties to the Bears are former special teams coach Keith Armstrong, former defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, and former running backs coaches Skip Peete and Curtis Modkins.