In a surprising development, the Bears reportedly interviewed Mike Singletary for their vacant defensive coordinator position this week, Adam Jahns of The Athletic reported on Wednesday.
Singletary is obviously best known for his time playing linebacker for the Bears from 1981 to 1992. In his 12 seasons in the NFL, he was named to the Pro Bowl ten times and was a first-team All-Pro eight times. He was also named as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1986, and he played a crucial role in anchoring Chicago’s legendary defense in their Super Bowl XX victory. The man dubbed “Samurai Mike” finished with 1,488 total tackles in his career and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
In addition to his legendary playing career, Singletary also has 20 years of coaching experience, though his resumé in that regard is not quite at a Hall of Fame level. He most notably served as the head coach of the 49ers from 2009 to 2010, while also serving as an interim coach for nine games in 2018.
He finished with an 18-22 record as San Francisco’s head coach before he was fired one week before the 2010 regular season ended. He was more recently the head coach for the AAF’s Memphis Express in 2019, leading the team to a record of just 2-6 before the league folded prematurely.
Singletary has experience coaching in both a 3-4 and a 4-3 base defense. The 49ers ran a 3-4 system in the two seasons he served as head coach, but the Express ran a 4-3 more recently. Chicago’s roster is currently rooted in a 3-4 system, but they rarely find themselves running out of a base package, anyway.
The Bears have been active in their search for Chuck Pagano’s replacement at defensive coordinator, and this is certainly their most outside-of-the-box option yet. Other notable interviewees include Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon, former Giants and Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher, and Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards. Internal candidates within the Bears’ organization include defensive line coach Jay Rodgers and safeties coach Sean Desai.