New Bears Head Coach John Fox held court with the Chicago media today. The soon-to-be 60-year-old Fox was hired on Friday to replace the fired Marc Trestman. Fox was most recently the coach of the Denver Broncos, and has appeared in the Super Bowl with both the Broncos and Carolina Panthers.
Fox stopped short of predicting that kind of success right away with the Bears, but offered a glimpse into his coaching philosophy today, and what he says is the key to turning around a franchise.
“It’s finding the right kind of people. We’re looking for smart, tough, people who will condition themselves to be the best they’re going to be. Football is a tough, physical game. We’re looking for tough, physical people,” Fox said. “I’m brutally honest. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I’m not afraid or intimidated to tell people the truth.”
Watch Fox's full news conference.
Whether or not highly-paid quarterback Jay Cutler is the right kind of quarterback for the new regime remains to be seen. Fox says he “feels good about whoever that is.” Fox says that Cutler sent him a text message welcoming him to Chicago.
“I just reminded him that this game’s only fun when we win, and that I was looking forward to getting to see him,” Fox said. “We’re going to start that relationship and that process.”
Fox also said he plans to reach out to former Bears superstar Brian Urlacher, who had a messy divorce with the team when he was cut two years ago. He and General Manager Ryan Pace say they are keen on repairing that relationship.
Two weeks ago, the Bears hired the 37-year-old Pace from New Orleans to be the architect of the football team; he’s responsible for drafting and signing all of the players. Fox said that he didn’t really know Pace before this process, but got reassurance from mutual contacts throughout the NFL that they could work together.
“We had people that we respect in the league that knew both of us and felt very, very confident that we’d be perfect together,” Fox said. “I had a great feel for Ryan, he flew out to Denver with his wife Stephanie, spent time with me and my wife Robin, and it just clicked. I’m very excited about that moving forward.”
Pace said he and Fox took a trip out to Des Plaines to visit the 92-year-old matriarch of the Bears, Virginia McCaskey, who was excited about the new hires. Her son George, team president Ted Phillips, and Pace were on hand today, and said their ships were all sailing in the same direction when they heard word that Fox and Denver were parting ways.
“John Fox is a proven winner, and when he became available, honestly, the game changed,” said Pace.
“That confidence, that energy, that leadership, that experience – we had to go after him,” said McCaskey.
“The process was outstanding,” said Phillips. “My hat’s off to Ernie Accorsi and the way we collaborated. ‘We’ being everyone, George McCaskey, Ryan, and myself.”
The Bears brought in NFL veteran Accorsi to help them select a new GM and coach. By all accounts, he was very influential in this process; his work with the team is now over. Fox and Pace are currently in the process of assembling a coaching staff.
Read my live tweets from the news conference.