The Bears have begun interviewing candidates for their vacant defensive coordinator position.
According to a report from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bears interviewed James Bettcher for the position on Monday.
Bettcher spent the previous year out of football, although according to an ESPN report he spent his time studying the game in preparation for returning to a defensive coordinator role in 2021.
Bettcher served five seasons as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals from 2015 to 2017 and with the New York Giants in 2018 and 2019.
Bettcher’s Cardinals defenses ranked in the top 10 in total yards in each of his three seasons. His move to New York proved less successful. Bettcher lost his job when Giants coach Pat Schurmer was fired after the 2019 season.
This is the first reported interview the Bears have conducted since defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano announced his retirement last week. Pagano held the job for two seasons.
The Bears will likely interview a number of external candidates, as well as some internal defensive coaches, for the position.
Hiring a defensive coordinator is the top priority right now for head coach Matt Nagy, who returns to coach the Bears for a fourth season in 2021.