The last time John Fox and Jimmy Clausen worked together, it didn’t work out well for either of them.
Both are hoping their reunion goes better.
Clausen said he was encouraged about coming back to the Bears this offseason, even though the coach and General Manager who resurrected his career are gone. He sat down with new G.M. Ryan Pace, Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, and felt good about re-signing with the Bears after Phil Emery and Marc Trestman were fired.
“Obviously, if I didn’t like what they envisioned for me and the offense, I wouldn’t be here right now,” Clausen said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I like what they have planned for us moving forward, and I’m really excited about this upcoming season.
“I just felt comfortable with them and just wanted to come back.”
Comfort was something neither Clausen nor Fox had last time through.
Clausen was drafted prior to Fox’s lame-duck season with the Panthers, a kid the coach didn’t have a vested interest in developing since he wasn’t going to be there for the finished product. The rookie-averse Fox only played Clausen because of an injury to Matt Moore, and Clausen was pounded into the ground during a 2-14 season, a record which he wasn’t responsible for or able to prevent.
That led to the Panthers drafting Cam Newton and Clausen not throwing another pass until last season.
“I’ve seen him develop,” Fox said. “You know I’ve seen him grow, even personally and, you know, that’s what we do. Hopefully as we age we grow up some.
“So I’ve seen him grow as a football player and as a man — and I’m excited to work with him.”
Clausen’s role is important, given the way the Bears tried to get out from under Jay Cutler’s contract this offseason, including attempts to trade him on draft day. The only other quarterbacks on the roster are second-year David Fales and undrafted rookie Shane Carden, so there’s a burden on Clausen to be stable and trustworthy.
He wasn’t ready for that in 2010 with Fox, but for both their sakes, he better be now.