John Fox hoping to rebuild Brian Urlacher’s fractured relationship with Bears

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John Fox met the media for the first time as Bears head coach Monday.

It’s almost certainly not high on John Fox’s “to-do” list, but the new Bears coach is hoping to repair the rift between the Bears and Brian Urlacher.

Answering a question about Urlacher’s criticism of Jay  Cutler — that it takes more than talent to be a great quarterback in the league — Fox took the opportunity to take advantage of his previous relationship with the Bears retired linebacker.

“I know  Brian. We’re going to make things right with him,” Fox said. “I’m excited about meeting him, both Ryan [Pace] and I are.”

Urlacher left the Bears on bad terms when both sides were unable to come to terms on a contract for the 2012 season.

Fox also said he planned to talk to former Bears coach Mike Ditka for background on what it means to be the coach of the Chicago Bears. Former head coach Marc Trestman did the same.

“Mike’s a friend,” Fox said. “I haven’t talked to in a while. Banged into him every once in awhile in Florida. But he understands Chicago at this point way better than I do. I’d be crazy not to [talk to him]. With ex-players, I think it’s important to build that relationship.”

Bears president Ted Phillips, of course, was all-in on that idea.

“It says that they understand the history and the tradition and making sure that the great players that we’ve had in our past that they’re still important today. And we agreed with that,” Phillips said. “So I think John and Ryan both, they’ve spoken to it and they’re both great people. They’re great. They understand people and how to bring them all together. So that’s just going to be really helpful in keeping those relationships and then enhancing them with our alumni.”

Rodgers to lead special teams 

Jeff Rodgers, who coached special teams for Fox in Carolina (2009-10) and Denver (2011-14), will be the Bears’ special-teams coordinator.

In Rodgers’ four years as coordinator, the Broncos were 11th in the NFL in net punting (39.6 yards per punt) and ninth in kickoff-return average (24.5).

Helping hand

Pace gave credit to his former boss, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, after hiring Saints scout Josh Lucas as the Bears’ director of player personnel.

“It’s important that you have a couple of guys that are familiar with what you want to do,” Pace said.

“Josh is one of the best evaluators in the league. Me and Mickey Loomis have a close relationship, and Mickey wants me to have success — and part of that is getting a guy I know I can bring with me who is a good evaluator.’’


The Bears requested permission from the Colts to interview Rob Chudzinski for their offensive-coordinator position. Chudzinski coached the Browns in 2013.

◆ Tight end Martellus Bennett was named to the Pro Bowl to replace the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski, who had to withdraw because his team is playing in the Super Bowl.


Twitter: @MarkPotash

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