Report: Chicago Bears will hire Colts DC Matt Eberflus as the franchise’s 17th head coach

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Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is shown here against the Houston Texans during the AFC Wild Card in 2019. Eberflus is reportedly going to be hired as the next head coach for the Chicago Bears. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is shown here against the Houston Texans during the AFC Wild Card in 2019. Eberflus is reportedly going to be hired as the next head coach for the Chicago Bears. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO — Matt Eberflus will be the 17th head coach of the Chicago Bears, according to league sources.

In his first move as Bears general manager, Ryan Poles on Thursday hired Eberflus from a group of finalists that included Dan Quinn and Jim Caldwell.

Eberflus, 51, was the Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator the last four seasons. He replaces Matt Nagy, who along with GM Ryan Pace was fired Jan. 10 after a 6-11 finish in 2021 and 34-31 record in four seasons in Nagy’s first stint as an NFL head coach.

► More: Here are 8 candidates the Colts could hire to replace Matt Eberflus as defensive coordinator

Eberflus first interviewed with the Bears on Jan. 17 and had a second interview with Poles on Wednesday. He was one of at least 10 candidates who interviewed for the coaching vacancy.

Eberflus takes on his first head-coaching job after 13 years as an NFL coordinator and assistant coach and 17 years as a college assistant.

The Colts hired him in 2018 with the idea he would be the defensive coordinator for Josh McDaniels, whom they planned to hire. McDaniels backed out of the job to remain the New England Patriots offensive coordinator, but the Colts retained Eberflus to be a part of Frank Reich’s staff instead.

Eberflus elevated a defense that in 2017 ranked 30th in the NFL in points and yards allowed.

He finished third in 2018 in the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year voting after the Colts, a 10-6 playoff team, finished 10th in points allowed and 11th in yards allowed per game. They were a top-10 defense again in 2020.

And this season, Eberflus oversaw a Colts defense that led the AFC in takeaways (33) while finishing in the top 10 in points allowed (21.5 ppg). Three Colts defensive players were named to the initial Pro Bowl roster this season: defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard and cornerback Kenny Moore II.

Eberflus interviewed with the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers and New York Jets last year and also interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. Reich called him a “great candidate to be a head coach” after he didn’t get a new job last offseason.

“I think the world of Matt as a coach, as a person, as a defensive coordinator — that we can ... have the continuity and just keep building, growing and adapting the system to our players,” Reich said. “I’ve just seen ‘Flus’ continue to grow and develop in that role as well, really connecting with players, making a conscious effort every week to put our players in the best position possible.”

Moore tweeted Thursday he was happy for “Coach Flus,” noting “the lessons he brings to the game as well as the correlation to life. He’ll be amazing.”

Before his tenure with the Colts, Eberflus spent seven years coaching linebackers for the Dallas Cowboys after a two-year stint in the same role with the Cleveland Browns. He also added defensive pass game coordinator to his title in his final two years in Dallas.

He started his coaching career in 1992 at Toledo as a student assistant before rising to coach outside linebackers and defensive backs. In 2001, he joined Missouri, where his titles included defensive coordinator, defensive backs and safeties coach and associate head coach over eight seasons.

Eberflus, a native of Toledo, Ohio, was a first-team All-Mid-American Conference linebacker at Toledo in 1990 and 1991.

“There’s no question he can reach every corner of the locker room,” retired Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee told the Tribune earlier this week. “As a player, you want someone that is going to give you answers, is going to motivate you every single day, and that’s who he is. He’s going to give you the answers to get better consistently and he’s going to hold standards. He’s going to be relentless about how hard you’re going to work. Most football players relate to that.”

Eberflus must now turn his attention to filling out his coaching staff, including the important hire of an offensive coordinator.

NFL Network floated the name of Philadelphia Eagles pass game coordinator Kevin Patullo as a name to watch.

The hire of Eberflus wraps up an eventful 18-day stretch since the Bears fired Pace and Nagy.

The Bears hired Poles on Tuesday after an extensive search that included interviews with at least 12 other GM candidates. Poles, 36, was the Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel and spent 13 years with the organization.

Poles then interviewed Caldwell on Tuesday and Eberflus and Quinn on Wednesday. Quinn and Caldwell have head-coaching experience.

Quinn reportedly informed the Cowboys and other teams he would return to his role as defensive coordinator in Dallas.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: NFL: Chicago Bears set to hire Colts DC Matt Eberflus as head coach

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