May 24, 2022


Bears News

Bears candidate tracker: Catch up on the latest GM, head coach candidates

The Bears have interviewed former Indianapolis and Detroit coach Jim Caldwell for their head coaching vacancy.

The Bears have interviewed or requested some two dozen candidates for their open head coach and general manager positions. Bears chairman George McCaskey said at the outset that the process would be “thorough, diligent and exhaustive.”

So far, it has been.

Two weeks ago, McCaskey outlined a five-person panel, which includes himself, that will interview candidates for both positions. That panel includes McCaskey, team president and CEO Ted Phillips, former NFL general manager Bill Polian, Bears director of player engagement LaMar “Soup” Campbell and Bears senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion Tanesha Wade.

The panel will interview candidates for both positions simultaneously. McCaskey said it is their preference to hire a GM before a coach, but it is not a requirement.

Here’s what we know so far about the candidates for both positions.

General manager

Who has officially interviewed?

The Bears have verified that these individuals have interviewed for general manager. More on each of these executives below.

  • Cleveland Browns vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook (Jan. 12)
  • Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (Jan. 13)
  • Bears assistant director of player personnel Anthony “Champ” Kelly (Jan. 13)
  • New Orleans Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland (Jan. 14)
  • Tennessee Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort (Jan. 15). The Bears are expected to conduct a second interview with Ossenfort, per the NFL Network.
  • Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen (Jan. 16). Schoen officially became the general manager of the New York Giants on Jan. 22.
  • Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager Ed Dodds (Jan. 17). Dodds has since withdrawn his candidacy, according to the NFL Network.
  • New England Patriots consultant Eliot Wolf (Jan. 18). Wolf will have a second interview with the Bears, according to the NFL Network.
  • San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon (Jan. 19)
  • Miami Dolphins senior personnel executive Reggie McKenzie (Jan. 20)
  • Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles (Jan. 21). Poles will have a second interview Tuesday, according to the NFL Network.
  • Indianapolis Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown (Jan. 24)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan (Jan. 24)

Who else has reportedly been requested for an interview?

The Bears have not confirmed these individuals are candidates, but they will interview soon according to national reports.

Get to know the candidates

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is a Princeton graduate who previously worked on Wall Street and who took his first NFL job in 2013 with the 49ers. He became the director of football research and development in San Francisco before becoming the vice president of football operations in Cleveland in 2020.

Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown has a background in scouting. The Colts have received rave reviews in recent drafts, and Brown oversees the team’s college scouting. He has worked in Indianapolis for five years now. Brown previously worked in Cleveland and Washington, and he spent seven years with the Bears from 2001-07 as the team’s assistant director of pro personnel.

San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon, 40, has been in his current position since 2017. He previously worked as a scout for the Falcons and as the director of player personnel for the Rams. He played college football at Florida and he played in the NFL for parts of three seasons from 2004-06.

Browns vice president of player personnel Glenn Cook has worked for the Browns since 2016 and took on his current role in 2020. He previously worked for the Green Bay Packers. Cook played college football at Miami from 2004-08 and was a 46th-round draft pick by the Chicago Cubs in 2009. He briefly played baseball in the minor leagues.

Indianapolis assistant general manager Ed Dodds – who has reportedly withdrawn from consideration – has been with the Colts since 2017 as general manager Chris Ballard’s right-hand man. Prior to the Colts, he worked for the Seattle Seahawks from 2007-16. He helped build the Seahawks into a perennial contender and has helped engineer a turnaround in Indianapolis in recent years.

New Orleans Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland, 51, has a background as a scout and served as the Miami Dolphins’ general manager from 2008-13. In six seasons, his Dolphins teams went 46-50 with one playoff appearance. Since then, Ireland worked briefly as a consultant with the Seahawks in 2014 before taking his current job in New Orleans. As a kid, he was once a ball boy for the Bears.

Bears assistant director of player personnel Anthony “Champ” Kelly interviewed for his former boss’s old job on Jan. 13. Kelly has been in his current role with the Bears for two seasons after serving as the team’s director of pro scouting for two seasons prior to that. Kelly helped in both the pro personnel and college scouting departments. He previously worked in the Broncos front office from 2008-14. He grew up in Florida and played college football at Kentucky. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s in business administration, and he worked at IBM for several years before taking his first job in the NFL.

Omar Khan has been the Steelers’ No. 2 behind general manager Kevin Colbert since 2016. He has worked for the Steelers organization since 2001 and has worked in the NFL since 1997. Khan is in an interesting situation because Colbert reportedly plans to retire after the 2022 season. Khan would, presumably, be one of the top candidate to replace his boss, but yet he appears to be open to looking elsewhere.

Current Dolphins senior personnel executive Reggie McKenzie was the GM for the Raiders from 2012-18. He worked in the Packers’ front office from 1994 to 2011, helping the organization win two Super Bowls. McKenzie was the 2016 NFL executive of the year after building the Raiders into a 12-win team that included Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. As a linebacker, he played for the Raiders and Cardinals in the ‘80s.

Titans director of player personnel Monti Ossenfort has been in his current position for two seasons and has 21 years of NFL experience. He spent 17 seasons in New England and worked his way up to director of college scouting. He helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls during his time there.

Chiefs executive director of player personnel Ryan Poles has worked in Kansas City for nearly 13 years. He began as a scout in 2009 and worked his way up to his current position in June of 2021. Along the way, he served as the director of college scouting – including in 2017 when the Chiefs drafted quarterback Patrick Mahomes – and the assistant director of player personnel.

The New York Giants hired former Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen over the weekend, so he is no longer up for consideration in Chicago. Schoen had been in Buffalo since 2017.

Eliot Wolf is the 39-year-old son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf. The Bears requested the younger Wolf, who now works for the New England Patriots. He has worked in the NFL since 2004 and spent more than a decade in various roles in Green Bay. Eliot Wolf was the assistant GM in Cleveland in 2018-19 before joining the Patriots as a consultant in 2020.

Chargers director of player personnel JoJo Wooden joined the organization in 2013. He currently oversees the pro and college scouting departments. He worked for the New York Jets from 1997 until 2012 in various front office roles. His background is in scouting.

Head coach

Who has officially interviewed?

The Bears have verified that these individuals have interviewed for head coach. More on each of these executives below.

  • Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson (Jan. 12)
  • Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores (Jan. 14)
  • Former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell (Jan. 15). The Bears have requested a second interview with Caldwell, per the NFL Network.
  • Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett (Jan. 15)
  • Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll (Jan. 16)
  • Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (Jan. 17). Eberflus will conduct a second interview on Wednesday, according to the NFL Network.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich (Jan. 20)
  • Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier (Jan. 21)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles (Jan. 22)
  • Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (Jan. 22). The Bears have requested a second interview with Quinn, per the NFL Network.

Who else has reportedly been requested for an interview?

The Bears have not confirmed these individuals are candidates, but they will interview soon according to national reports.

  • New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will interview Tuesday, per the NFL Network

Get to know the candidates

New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has been in his current position since 2015. Prior to joining New Orleans, he was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders for parts of three seasons. He amassed an 8-28 record as a head coach and was fired following an 0-4 start in 2014. Reggie McKenzie, who interviewed for the Bears’ GM job on Jan. 20, hired and fired Allen in Oakland. Allen has coached in the NFL since 2002. He was a Saints assistant coach for five years and served as Broncos defensive coordinator for one season in 2011 before the Raiders hired him as head coach.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles watches from the sideline during a game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C.

Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, 58, is a former head coach. He had a 24-40 record as the head coach of the New York Jets for four seasons from 2015-18. A 10-6 finish in 2015 was the Jets’ last winning season. Bowles joined Arians’ staff in 2019 in Tampa Bay. The Bucs had one of the NFL’s best defenses in 2020 when they won Super Bowl LV. This season, the Bucs rank third in rushing yards against and are holding opponents to just 20.8 points per game (tied for fifth-best).

Bill Polian promoted Jim Caldwell to Colts head coach in 2009 after Tony Dungy retired. The Colts went to the Super Bowl in Caldwell’s first season. Following a disastrous 2-14 season in 2011, when Peyton Manning missed the entire year with a neck injury, the Colts let both Polian and Caldwell go. Caldwell earned a second head coaching gig in 2014 with the Detroit Lions. He had three winning seasons in four years and two playoff appearances. Overall, Caldwell is 62-50 as a head coach, and 2-4 in the playoffs.

Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, 46, has never been a head coach but has won six championships as an assistant – five Super Bowls with the Patriots and a national championship with Alabama. He has been the Bills’ offensive coordinator since 2018 and has been instrumental in bringing quarterback Josh Allen along from his rookie season until now.

Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, 51, has been the defensive coordinator in Indianapolis since 2018. He worked for the Dallas Cowboys from 2009-17 as linebackers coach. Eberflus has 13 total years of NFL coaching experience. He was a college coach for 17 years before that.

The Miami Dolphins fired Brian Flores in a surprise move on Black Monday. Flores, 40, is another longtime New England assistant. He won four Super Bowls in various roles in New England. As a head coach, he went 24-25 over the past three seasons in Miami. The Dolphins had a winning record in each of the past two seasons.

Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, 62, was a cornerback on the Bears’ Super Bowl XX-winning team in 1985 and played for the team for six seasons. He served as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2010-13, amassing a 21-32-1 regular season record with one playoff appearance. Since then, he has coached for the Bucs, Ravens and Bills.

Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, 42, has been an offensive coordinator for three different teams over the past decade. He joined Packers head coach Matt LaFleur in Green Bay in 2019. His 2020 Packers offense ranked No. 1 in scoring. They were the third team in NFL history with more than 500 points scored and 11 or fewer turnovers. The Packers have won three straight NFC North division titles.

Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, 41, is a former first-round draft pick who started 50 games as a quarterback in the NFL. He has coached under Bucs head coach Bruce Arians since 2017 in both Arizona and Tampa Bay. Leftwich has been the Bucs’ offensive coordinator since 2019, including during last year’s Super Bowl run.

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson will reportedly interview with the Chicago Bears for their head coaching vacancy.

The Bears interviewed former Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson last week. Pederson took the 2021 season off after being fired by the Eagles around this time last year. He was 42-37-1 as the Eagles head coach from 2016-20, with three playoff appearances and a Super Bowl LII championship.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, 51, was 43-42 as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 2015-20. He led Atlanta to Super Bowl LI, where his team held a 28-3 lead before collapsing against the Patriots. The Cowboys had one of the NFL’s best defensive resurgences this season after ranking among the worst in 2020. Quinn was also the defensive coordinator in Seattle when the Seahawks went to back-to-back Super Bowls in 2013 and 2014.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.