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If Bears don’t promote Toub to head coach, teams pursuing as special teams coordinator

Published: Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 10:13 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — If the Bears don’t hire Dave Toub as head coach, their special teams coordinator likely will have opportunities elsewhere.

While Toub remains under contract through 2013, general manager Phil Emery has granted him permission to explore options elsewhere in the event he is not selected for promotion. Toub interviewed with Panthers coach Ron Rivera on Wednesday, first reported by the Charlotte Observer, and a source told the Chicago Tribune he will talk with the Chiefs next.

Meanwhile, on the Bears’ front, Emery was to interview Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements on Thursday night in Green Bay. Emery is scheduled to interview Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison on Friday, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on Saturday and Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on Sunday.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid has a relationship with Toub dating back to 1987 at Texas-El Paso. They worked together at Missouri and then Reid gave Toub his first job in the NFL with the Eagles in 2001. The Raiders also are believed to be pursuing Toub, who could be in line to become the highest-paid special teams coordinator in the NFL if he doesn’t get a top job.

The Bears signed Toub to a two-year contract last January after he interviewed to become the head coach of the Dolphins, making him one of the best-paid special teams coaches in the league.

Toub, 50, is one of four special teams coordinators Emery has interviewed to replace Lovie Smith. That is considered a plus for Toub because it shows Emery isn’t just curious about the model the Ravens used in tabbing former Eagles special teams coordinator John Harbaugh to become their head coach. Emery clearly likes the model.

Also under consideration are Keith Armstrong of the Falcons, Joe DeCamillis of the Cowboys and Mike Priefer of the Vikings.

Toub also could return to the Bears under a new coach. But remaining tied to the area isn’t believed to be as significant to Toub now that his son Shane is out of high school and playing football at the University of Dayton.

Emery, in his Jan. 1 news conference, said the Bears were not going to allow Smith’s former assistants out of contracts because they were extended to give themselves and the club protection. Perhaps he is treating Toub differently now because Toub is also in the mix to replace Smith. His interview was Monday.

The Bears have finished in the top 10 in comprehensive special teams rankings eight times in nine seasons under Toub. They placed eighth this season despite the inability to get returner Devin Hester loose for any touchdowns.

Former Bears assistant special teams coach Chris Tabor is also a candidate to be hired by the Panthers. Tabor worked for the Browns the last two seasons.

Signings: The Bears signed linebacker Lawrence Wilson and tight end Fendi Onobun to reserve/futures contracts.

Wilson, a sixth-round pick of the Panthers in 2011 from Connecticut, was released as a rookie after he was cited for marijuana possession in a traffic stop. He was suspended for one game by the NFL and fined an additional game check. Wilson also has spent time with the Saints and Titans.

Onobun was a sixth-round pick of the Rams in 2010 out of Houston. He has appeared in four games in stops with the Rams and Jaguars (2011) and has spent time on the practice squads of the Bills, Redskins and Seahawks. Onobun played one year of college football at Houston after playing four seasons of basketball at Arizona.

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