Thirteen years ago, Bill Polian hired Jim Caldwell to replace Tony Dungy, after the Hall of Famer retired as coach of the Colts. It resulted in a Super Bowl appearance in Caldwell’s first season on the job.
With Polian now consulting for the Bears (and, as we hear it, fully running the search for a G.M. and a head coach), Caldwell will be getting a chance to return to the NFC North.
PFT has confirmed that Caldwell will indeed interview for the vacancy in Chicago. (On Friday night, ESPN reported that Caldwell “is expecting” to be interviewed and that he is a “presumed candidate” for the job. He will be interviewing and definitely is a candidate, we’re told.)
Caldwell ultimately spent three years with the Colts. A disastrous 2011 season without Peyton Manning resulted in owner Jim Irsay firing both Polian and Caldwell. The next year, Caldwell won a Super Bowl with the Ravens after elevating from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in December.
In 2014, the Lions hired Caldwell. He lasted four seasons, three of which ended with winning records; former G.M. Bob Quinn eventually moved on from Caldwell after consecutive 9-7 seasons, so that Quinn could hire Matt Patricia.
Caldwell has experience working with multiple high-end quarterbacks, from Manning to Joe Flacco to Matthew Stafford. As the Bears try to get the most out of Justin Fields, they could do a lot worse than a coach who has a career regular-season record of 62-50 and who batted .500 when it comes to taking the lowly Lions to the playoffs, making it to the postseason twice.
The Jaguars also have interviewed Caldwell. It will be interesting to see whether any of the other six teams with head-coaching vacancies do the same.