The Bears are hiring a defensive coordinator from within.
Bears safeties coach Sean Desai will become the team’s next defensive coordinator. The news first was reported by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The Bears made the hiring official later Friday.
Desai, 37, fills the vacancy created when defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano announced his retirement last week. Desai has worked for the Bears since 2013. He served as a quality control assistant from 2013 to 2018, then as safeties coach in 2019 and 2020.
“We are very fortunate and excited to promote from within and announce Sean Desai has been named defensive coordinator for our football team,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said in a statement released by the team. “He is a person of high football intelligence, extremely detail oriented, has a very strong work ethic, and I cannot think of someone more deserving to lead our defense. Sean is a family man of high character, and the respect he has within our building from coaches, players and staff is unparalleled.”
Desai, a former adjunct professor with a doctorate in educational administration from Temple, was a favorite of former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s. According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, when Fangio took the head coaching job with the Denver Broncos, he tried to bring Desai with him, but the Bears blocked the move.
At least one former Bears player endorsed Desai for the job. Former Bears linebacker Sam Acho said Desai was the best person to lead the Bears back to their 2018 defensive prowess. Acho wrote on Twitter that Desai was “Fangio’s right-hand man for 4 years.”
Former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky said he played high school football with Desai at Shelton High School in Shelton, Connecticut, two decades ago.
“Beyond proud of him,” Orlovsky wrote on Twitter. “Chased his dream and believed in himself.”
As quality control assistant, Desai worked with the Bears’ defensive backs and linebackers, while also assisting with special teams. Under Desai’s tutelage as safeties coach, Bears safety Eddie Jackson made a Pro Bowl appearance in 2019.
The Bears reportedly had interviewed a number of candidates for the job, including team legend Mike Singletary, former Cardinals and Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher, Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon and Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn.