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Pete Carroll connection boosts candidacy of Seahawks DC Dan Quinn

Take it for what it’s worth: Dan Quinn could be the next Gus Bradley.

Quinn, the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator, is one of the hottest head-coaching prospects of the NFL offseason. He was expected to interview with the Bears on Friday night after interviewing with the Jets on Friday morning. He reportedly interviewed with the 49ers on Tuesday, and is scheduled to interview with the Falcons and Bills on Saturday.

The Bears are scheduled to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase on Saturday and also have interest in Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. They will interview former Bills coach Doug Marrone next week, according to a New York Post report.

Quinn, 44, is typical of hot coordinators from Super Bowl-winning teams. His defenses in Seattle have finished first in yards allowed and points allowed in both his seasons as coordinator. But he has great talent. The Seahawks have four defensive players in the Pro Bowl — cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas, strong safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker Bobby Wagner. Sherman, Thomas and Wagner were named to the NFL All-Pro team on Friday.

Those players were all part of Seahawks defenses that finished first in points allowed and fourth in yards allowed in 2012 and helped earn Bradley a head-coaching job with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, Bradley was the only defensive coach among the seven head-coaching hires that offseason.

“He’s got a great work ethic. He’s got a great brilliant football mind,” Carroll said of Bradley at the time. “He’s got a way of reaching people and touching people and getting the best out of them — coaches and players alike. He’s got everything that you’re looking for.”

But that brilliance has yet to manifest itself in Jacksonville. The Jaguars were 4-12 in 2013 and 3-13 this season. The teams they have beaten are a combined 30-82. And the Jaguars’ defense hasn’t made noticeable improvement from the group that finished 30th in yards and tied for 29th in points under Mel Tucker in 2012. The Jaguars were tied for 27th in yards and 28th in points in 2013; they were 26th in yards and points last season.

Quinn, who is from Morristown, N.J., was a defensive line coach with the 49ers under coordinator Jim Mora, Jr. and head coach Dennis Erickson (2003-04), the Dolphins under coordinators Richard Smith and Dom Capers and head coach Nick Saban (2005-06) and the Jets under coordinator Bob Sutton and head coach Eric Mangini (2007-08).

Quinn joined the Seahawks as the defensive line coach when Mora was named the head coach in 2009. When Mora was fired after one season, Quinn was one of two coaches retained by Carroll in 2010 and reached the playoffs for the first time when the 7-9 Seahawks won the NFC West. He became the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida under Will Muschamp in 2011-12, then returned to the Seahawks in 2013 as defensive coordinator after Bradley was hired by the Jaguars.

Just as anyone connected to Bill Belichick becomes the hot guy, Quinn’s candidacy is largely a product of having worked for Carroll.

“We look to him as a mentor and something that we learn from all the time,” Quinn told Seattle-area reporters. “So just being part of this organization and watching the guy interact with the team, help develop the coaches, to help develop the players — he’s been a huge impact on the philosophy. Coaching-wise, philosophy-wise, it’s a blast working with him [Carroll].”

“He’s constantly challenging us — ‘think of this two-minute situation. Think of this …’ and he’s often putting us as coaches against each other in that scenario, where we do tons of two-minute work. It’s one of the fun part about being a coach on his staff.”

NOTES: Bears right guard Kyle Long was named to AP’s All-Pro second team Friday. Long received five votes, finishing fourth behind the Ravens’ Marshal Yanda (38), the Cowboys’ Zack Martin (24) and the Packers’ Josh Sitton (22).

Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, a CBS studio analyst since 2007, said on Sirius XM radio that he would not return to coaching in 2015. “I’m in good place at CBS,” he said.

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash