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Ed Donatell leaving Bears to become Broncos’ defensive coordinator

Bears general manager Ryan Pace acknowledged the obvious Monday: Ed Donatell, fresh off producing two first-team All-Pro defensive backs with the Bears, had options.

The Bears’ defensive backs coach, whose contract expired after the season, was passed over for the defensive-coordinator job last week.

The team was interested in retaining him in his current role, though Vic Fangio wanted to bring Donatell with him to the Broncos.

“He has a decision to make,” Pace said.

Ed Donatell will become the Broncos' new defensive coordinator. | Photo courtesy Chicago Bears

On Tuesday night, Donatell made one. And he didn’t choose the Bears.

Donatell will be Fangio’s defensive coordinator, sources confirmed. Fangio, a first-time head coach and former Bears defensive coordinator, will call the plays. The Broncos are the third consecutive team for which Fangio and Donatell have coached together.

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When Fangio took the Broncos’ job last week, he made no secret that he wanted to take some of his Bears assistants with him. He got two in one day. Brandon Staley, who spent the last two seasons as the Bears’ outside linebackers coach, also is following his former boss to take the same role in Denver. Staley, who interviewed with the team Monday, worked closely with Fangio, who specializes in outside linebackers.

New Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano’s staff will look much different than the one that led the NFL’s best defense. Adam Caplan, who contributes to Sirius XM, reported that inside linebackers coach Glenn Pires won’t return to the Bears.

Matt Nagy said Monday the Bears would be
patient with filling any vacancies.

“We don’t need to rush into decisions,” he said.