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Bears deny Bengals’ request to interview Vic Fangio

The Chicago Bears denied Cincinnati’s interview request to speak with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, whose contract expires on Tuesday.

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers

The Chicago Bears denied Cincinnati’s request to speak with Vic Fangio, according to Brad Biggs with the Chicago Tribune.

“A league source said the Bears denied a request from the Bengals to interview defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for an expected opening on their staff,” writes Biggs. The opening is clearly defensive coordinator, which was previously held by Paul Guenther, who recently joined Jon Gruden’s staff in Oakland.

It’s strange that Cincinnati would request an interview in the first place because Fangio’s contract expires this Tuesday. Even though Chicago says no, the Bengals can schedule an interview after Tuesday anyway.

At that point the Bears will not be able to block Fangio because both his three-year contract and the grace period at the end of the season that prevents coaches from bolting immediately without permission will have expired.

Multiple sources told Biggs that Chicago is interested in keeping Fangio if they elect against promoting him to head coach. There appears to be some interest from Green Bay, who fired defensive coordinator Dom Capers last week.

Fangio, an assistant coach with over 30 years of experience in the NFL, has been a well-traveled defensive coordinator with stops in Carolina (1995-98), Indianapolis (1999-01), Houston (2002-05), San Francisco (2011-14), and more recently, Chicago (2015-17), where his defense ranked 14th, 15th, and 10th. His greatest success came during his San Francisco run where his defenses ranked 4th, 3rd, 5th, and 5th.

Fangio is deeply respected in the Bears lockerroom, with many hoping he sticks around. “I think players are a big part of any type of success,” Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara said via ESPN. “But coaching is huge. On our side of the ball, with defense, I think Vic is a huge part of why we were pretty good this year on defense. I feel like he’s a mastermind, one of the smartest defensive coordinators, most detailed defensive coordinators I’ve been around. It’s hard to make him smile, but when he smiles, you know it’s a good thing. Guys love him. We respect him. If I was here, I’d hope he stays.”

Cincinnati has reportedly met with Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and new reports say he’s all but ready to be hired.