Bears hire Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as new head coach

He’s the 17th coach in team history, following the recently fired Matt Nagy.

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Matt Eberflus has been the Colts’ defensive coordinator the last four seasons.

Matt Eberflus has been the Colts’ defensive coordinator the last four seasons.

Zach Bolinger/AP

The Bears ended their latest search by hiring Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as their next head coach.

It’s the first head-coaching job for Eberflus, 51, at any level. After 17 years as an assistant at Toledo and Missouri, he began coaching in the NFL as the Browns’ linebackers coach in 2009. He spent two seasons in that role, then seven as linebackers coach for the Cowboys.

Ironically, the Colts hired him as defensive coordinator in 2018 and intended to pair him with Josh McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator whom they’d agreed to name their next head coach. McDaniels backed out of the job after the Super Bowl, though,and the Colts eventually hired Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich as head coach. Eberflus stayed on as defensive coordinator.

Over Eberflus’ four seasons, the Colts allowed the 10th-fewest points, had the second-most takeaways and yielded the third-fewest yards per carry.

The Colts allowed 21 or fewer points in 31 of his 65 games.

The Bears appeared to be down to three finalists when they hired general manager Ryan Poles on Tuesday. Poles interviewed former Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell his first day, then former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and Eberflus on Wednesday.

Quinn interviewed with six of the nine teams that had openings, but NFL Network reported Thursday he informed teams he intends to return to the Cowboys as defensive coordinator for the upcoming season.

The job has been open since the Bears fired Matt Nagy on Jan. 10. Nagy opened with a 12-4 record and NFC North title in 2018, but went 22-27 over the next three seasons and never got his offense rolling.

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