Bears hire Fox; Raiders welcome Del Rio
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — John Fox has a reputation for turning around teams. The Bears are counting on him to do just that.
Fox was hired as Chicago's coach Friday, four days after he and the Denver Broncos parted ways.
He was widely seen as a likely candidate to replace the fired Marc Trestman once he left the Broncos on Monday, given his record and his ties to consultant Ernie Accorsi and new general manager Ryan Pace.
Fox was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants from 1997 to 2001 when Accorsi was the GM. Saints coach Sean Payton was the offensive coordinator for part of that time, and he is tight with Pace, who was hired out of New Orleans' front office.
Fox has a 119-89 regular-season record in 13 years with Carolina (2002-10) and Denver (2011-14), with six division titles and seven playoff appearances. He is one of six coaches to lead two franchises to Super Bowl appearances, joining Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil and Mike Holmgren.
Fox comes to Chicago with a reputation for overseeing turnarounds, and he will try to do just that after the Bears went 5-11 and missed the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.
"I would say he's an easy-going guy, but he's still old-school football," Bears linebacker D.J. Williams, who played for Fox in Denver, told Chicago's WMVP-AM. "It's very hard to find a blend of that, somebody who's like real hard-nosed, but laid-back at the same time."
Fox took over a team in Denver that went 4-12 the previous year and led them to the AFC West title all four seasons, with Tim Tebow at quarterback the first season and Peyton Manning the next three.
Carolina went 1-15 in 2001, the year before Fox arrived. In his second season, the Panthers went to the Super Bowl with Jake Delhomme at quarterback.
Fox got back there last year with Manning, but the Broncos were blown out 43-8 by Seattle.
RAIDERS: Jack Del Rio lived Oakland Raiders history as a kid growing up in the East Bay, going to games at the Coliseum and cheering on those great teams coached by John Madden in the 1970s.
Del Rio is now coaching his favorite childhood team, tasked with ending 12 years of dismal performances.
"Yes it's coming home, yes I'm from this area and yes I'm a lifelong Raider," Del Rio said Friday at his introductory news conference. "I've been a Raider fan all my life. My dad took me and I sat in the stands way back when. And so I followed them in my heart the entire time. That's not the main reason I came back."
Del Rio said he was attracted to the Raiders because of the organization that owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie have put together and the fact that there are key pieces to build the roster around, most notably quarterback Derek Carr.
Del Rio becomes Oakland's ninth head coach since the start of the 2003 season. The Raiders have the NFL's worst record in that span.
"I think there's certainly no other way to trend from where we're sitting right now," Del Rio said. "We have to go up."
Del Rio has been defensive coordinator in Denver for the past three seasons, helping the Broncos win three straight AFC West titles.