The Chicago Bears have reached out to at least 13 general manager and 10 coaching candidates for interviews. As they go through the process, we’re looking at each of the prospective hires.
Jim Caldwell interviewed for the coach opening Saturday, the team announced.
Title: Former Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts head coach.
Caldwell went 62-50 with four playoff appearances over three seasons with the Colts and four seasons with the Lions. In his first season as a head coach in 2009, he led the Colts to a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl appearance, where they lost to the New Orleans Saints.
Caldwell spent more than two decades coaching in college, including as the head coach at Wake Forest in the 1990s. He moved to the NFL to coach quarterbacks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a season and the Colts for seven seasons, working with Peyton Manning, including during the 2006 Super Bowl season.
Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian, who is on the Bears search committee, promoted Caldwell to head coach in 2009 to replace Tony Dungy, and Polian and Caldwell were fired in 2011 after a 2-14 season in which Manning was out with a neck injury.
After his stint as Colts head coach, Caldwell spent two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, working with Joe Flacco during the 2012 Super Bowl season before he was named Lions head coach in 2014. He had three winning seasons in Detroit and was fired after back-to-back 9-7 seasons.
You should know
After the Lions fired him, Caldwell joined the Miami Dolphins as assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach in 2019. But he took a leave of absence to address health issues before the season started and hasn’t coached since.
He said in the summer of 2020 that he had an issue that required better diet, exercise and rest and he was “feeling great.”
Caldwell is from Beloit, Wis., went to Iowa and had early-career college assistant coaching gigs at Southern Illinois and Northwestern.
He won a Super Bowl ring with the 2006 Colts team that beat the Bears for the title.
In four seasons with the Lions, Caldwell’s teams went 7-1 against the Bears. Since Caldwell was fired, the Lions are 1-7 against the Bears.
What’s been said
Before Manning’s first Super Bowl appearance in Denver, according to the Indianapolis Star, he said, “Jim meant a great deal to me in my career. I felt like once he got to Indianapolis and became my quarterbacks coach, my game really improved. It took a step up. ... He and I had a set routine that we tried to perform every day in the meeting room, on the practice field, in different drills. And from 2003 to 2008, when he was my quarterbacks coach, I was playing at a high level.”
In 2016, Polian spoke with DetroitLions.com to talk about why he believed it was good the Lions retained Caldwell after a 7-9 season.
“When you saw what he did with them two years ago, when they were healthy, and they had (Ndamukong) Suh and a complete cast on defense, there’s no question that the players responded to him,” Polian said. “If you talk to the players, even today, they are 100 percent in his corner. They believe he takes them in the right direction, that he takes care of them, that he gets them to the game in good shape physically, mentally and strategically.”
History photos: Chicago's Soldier Field through the years