Bears convince defensive coordinator Fangio to return


Helfrich chose the Bears' offensive coordinator position while being pursued as University of Arizona's new head coach, according to reports.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Vic Fangio is expected to return as defensive coordinator after an agreement was reached Friday. He interviewed for the Bears' head-coaching job in the wake of Fox's firing, but the Bears clearly were intent on hiring an offensive-minded coach.

Fangio, the former defensive coordinator at Stanford and the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh, re-signed Friday to continue to lead a defense he helped transform the past three seasons. Still, the Bears and Nagy were eager to retain Fangio; their highly respected and veteran defensive coordinator who inherited one of the NFL's worst defenses in 2015 and coached the unit back to respectability over the last three seasons. The Bears averaged just 287.4 yards of total offense per game this season, the third-worst mark in the league and scored just 16.5 points per contest, the league's fourth-worst average.

The Bears reportedly became concerned Monday that they would lose Fangio after informing him of the club's decision to hire Nagy.

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Fangio's return figures to enhance the development of players who developed under his tutelage - defensive end Akiem Hicks, nose tackle Eddie Goldman, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and safeties Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos among them. The team said Friday it has hired former OR coach Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator and Chris Tabor as special teams coordinator.

Nagy will call offensive plays as Bears' head coach, but Helfrich will surely have a key role in game planning and working with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears also have two former Ducks, Hroniss Grasu and Kyle Long, on the offensive line. Line coach Harry Hiestand and running backs coach Charles London were hired on Wednesday.

Helfrich should be particularly helpful for No. 2 overall pick Mitch Trubisky, who exclusively ran a spread in his 13 starts at North Carolina. London spent three years (2007-09) on Lovie Smith's staff in Chicago as an offensive quality control coach and assistant wide receivers coach.