Bears coach Matt Eberflus: I was ‘taken aback’ by Frank Reich firing

The Colts shocked the league when owner Jim Irsay decided to replace Reich — whom he’d recently given a vote of confidence — with former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who had been serving as an ESPN analyst.

SHARE Bears coach Matt Eberflus: I was ‘taken aback’ by Frank Reich firing
The Colts fired head coach Frank Reich on Monday.

The Colts fired head coach Frank Reich on Monday.

Billie Weiss/Getty Images

Bears coach Matt Eberflus said he “was a little bit taken aback” by the Colts’ decision to fire coach Frank Reich on Monday.

“Frank’s a very good friend of mine,” Eberflus said Wednesday. “I really enjoyed my time with him. He certainly helped me professionally as a man, as a coach. And I can’t say enough good things about Frank Reich. I love him to death, and he’s a great, dear friend.”

The Colts shocked the league when owner Jim Irsay decided to replace Reich — whom he’d recently given a vote of confidence — with former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who had been serving as an ESPN analyst. Saturday, who is technically the interim coach, is the first person in the modern era of the NFL to be hired as a head coach without experience in college or the pros.

Asked whether that was good for the sport, Eberflus bit his tongue.

Eberflus — who was Reich’s defensive coordinator for four seasons before being hired by the Bears in January — said he sympathized with the assistants who remained in Indianapolis. The uncertainty of an interim situation is hard on coaches and their families, he said.

“Hopefully, they’ll have some wisdom and stay strong,” he said.

Fields wins award

Quarterback Justin Fields said it was an honor to be named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. He is the first Bear to win the award since fellow quarterback Mitch Trubisky in 2018.

Fields’ 178 rushing yards against the Dolphins surpassed Michael Vick’s previous record of 173 and smashed Bobby Douglass’ 50-year-old Bears record of 127. He also completed 17 of 28 passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns and had a 106.7 passer rating.

Muhammad hurt

Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (knee), who played 77% of the Bears’ defensive downs Sunday, was one of three Bears not to practice Wednesday.

His absence against the Lions would be a blow to a beleaguered defensive line. Only three teams have fewer sacks than the Bears’ 13.

Cornerback Kindle Vildor missed practice with the ankle injury he suffered on his second snap against the Dolphins.

Safety Dane Cruikshank sat out with an illness, and cornerback Josh Blackwell was limited because of a knee injury.

This and that

Linebacker Matthew Adams, a core special-teams player, returned to practice after being put on injured reserve last month with a calf problem. Adams can practice for up to 21 days before the Bears must decide whether he returns to game action.

Adams served as Roquan Smith’s backup at weak-side linebacker, but the Bears have since moved Nicholas Morrow to the spot and put undrafted free-agent rookie Jack Sanborn at middle linebacker.

† Lions cornerback Chase Lucas (ankle), wide receiver Josh Reynolds (back) and running back Jamaal Williams (resting veteran) did not practice Wednesday.

† The Bears began their annual coat drive. Fans can drop off jackets at one of 188 Jewel-Osco locations until Feb. 15.

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