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Chicago Bears request coaching interview with Byron Leftwich, Todd Bowles

Matt Johnson
Chicago Bears
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears coaching search is underway with Matt Nagy out the door and interview requests for some of the top NFL coaching candidates already sent out.

While Chicago drafted quarterback Justin Fields with the 11th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and wants to find a coach who can develop the face of its franchise, its search is looking at candidates from both sides of the ball. After years of teams focusing on offensive coordinators and quarterbacks coaches, teams seem to be casting a wider net this offseason.

While the Bears will face plenty of competition with six coaching vacancies already open across the league and more to possibly follow, they are moving quickly to meet with two of the best candidates available.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Bears have sought permission from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to interview offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

Bowles, the former New York Jets head coach (2015-’18), joined the Buccaneers in 2019. Since taking over as Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator, he’s built one of the best and most aggressive defenses in the NFL. He has won three Super Bowls, one each as a player, executive and assistant coach.

The 58-year-old has played a tremendous role in the development of the Buccaneers’ young cornerbacks, a position he has coached since 1997. He is also viewed as one of the best defensive play-callers in the NFL, deploying a blitz-heavy approach that routinely bothers top quarterbacks.

While Leftwich didn’t receive an interview request last offseason, despite winning a Super Bowl, that’s changing in 2022. He is one of the most coveted future NFL head coaches coming off a season as the play-caller that saw Tampa Bay finish the regular season 1st in Football Outsiders’ DVOA Offense rankings, averaged the second-most total yards per game (405.9) and they led the league in offensive touchdowns (61).

The Chicago Bears have also requested interviews with Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Bills’ defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

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