"First off, it's great to be here, it's great to have an opportunity. I've talked with Jerry Angelo, talked with Ted Phillips, talked to the McCaskey family. It's an opportunity that I'm excited about. I'm hoping things work out. We're still in as they say, the dating stages, and we'll see where it'll progress from here."
Have they made you an offer?
"No, they haven't. It's more or less sitting down, my views on how I would run a football team, the concerns on the type of offense that I would run, the type of defense that Chicago would run, where I fit in this organization, do I fit in this organization. Does this organization fit me as a coach. There's a lot of things that … questions that I have that have been answered, questions that they have that hopefully I've answered them in a favorable manner. We still have a ways to go and we'll see where it takes us."
Does the opportunity outweigh possible compensation?
"We haven't really gotten into the compensation part of it yet. To be honest with you the compensation part is something right now that's probably the furthest thing from my mind.
"I'm excited about the tradition part. I've been in this league 23 years, player and coach. I've been in two organizations that are great in tradition, the Washington Redskins and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think the Chicago Bears fit in that category.
"There are certain teams in this league that I would not fit in as a head coach, I would not be interested in as a head coach. The Chicago Bears are not one of them. The Chicago Bears are built on a type of pride, a type of character, a style of football that I think these fans appreciate, that knowledgeable football fans appreciate and hopefully that's something that I would be a part of getting this organization back into."
Are you surprised to be here and do you have a previous relationship with Jerry?
No. I know who Jerry is just from being in the league. Are we friends? We're going to have to be. To me that's what makes things successful. It's not butting heads, it's when all those minds work together, everybody with one goal in mind and it really doesn't matter who makes those decisions.
Like I told them here, I think it takes more than one person to run a football team. For me to come in here and say, 'I want to be the general manager, I want to make all the decisions, I want to do this, I want to do that.' No, no. I want to coach football. I know what it takes to put a winning football team on a football field. I know what it takes to win games. I know what beating Green Bay means to this franchise. I know what winning division games means to this franchise. It's something I'm excited about and hopefully they're excited about it and things will work out. We're in the early stages and I'm just excited to be here right now."
What is your offensive philosophy?
"Offensively, to be honest with you, without getting into a bunch of details, we're gonna run and we're gonna pass."
And you won't have to punt?
"Hopefully not. In all honesty we probably will. My offensive background has obviously been with Joe Gibbs, it's been a Don Coryell system, it has been a little tinkered with over the years, it's a little different. In Pittsburgh with a little more power running game with Bettis. I have enough of an offensive background to realize that you don't just come in and say, 'We're going to be a run and shoot team, we're going to be power-running team.'
I think you have to run the football to win games. That's a proven fact. How we're going to do that I don't know. Is it going to be out of two tight ends, is it going to be out of one tight end, is it going to be out of a three-wide receiver set with two backs, I don't know. That is something that if the opportunity presents itself, I think you come in here, you sit down and you look at the personnel that this team has.
I think it's young, I think it has good character, I think it's an upcoming football team that has a lot of possibilities to be successful. Now, as you put together a staff, that staff is going to be in charge of what do we think is best for this football team. What is best for a young quarterback? What is best for a wide receiver? Is the tight end a deep threat? Those things are all down the road. To say I'm going to do one thing or we're going to do one thing is a little early right now. I have enough background that we'll find something to move the football."
Would you surround yourself with assistants looking for that first opportunity, or because you haven't been a coordinator, would you want guys who have been coordinators?
"Somebody asked coming out here, they said some of the jobs have filled up, you're running out of time, but there are a lot of good assistant coaches out there. There are a lot of guys that know how to coach football that are looking for opportunities. I prefer young guys that are hungry.
"There are a lot of good coaches on this staff that are still here. That's something that down the road that'll be addressed. It'll be a style of offense that I'm familiar with. Hopefully it'll be somebody I've worked with or somebody that has run that style, somebody that I am comfortable with, that fits what we want to do here. Who it is right now, it's again, I have to get here first before somebody else can get here."
Would you consider (former college teammate and Bears star) Jimbo Covert as an assistant?
"If Jimbo's interested in coaching, he's more than welcome. I saw Jimbo when I came in. A great football player and a lot of tradition here. Again, we'll address that when the time comes up."
When did the process with the Bears begin?
"It came up quick. I'm a blue collar guy. I'm a meat and potatoes … I don't have an agent. I don't send flyers around the league saying I want to be a head coach. They asked for permission on Friday, they called on Saturday, I flew out here yesterday. It's one of those things where I'm not a big self-promoter type. I'm not calling around the league trying to find the first job that's available.
"Some things are interesting, and this is one of them, and I'm excited about it. Will things turn out? I have no idea, I really don't. Have I been through an interview process before? No. Do I have all the answers? No. Would I say I may make a mistake? Yeah, but that mistake will be corrected and I think I know how to win football games, and that's the bottom line."
Ditka wasn't a coordinator … does that give you hope about coming here?
"I don't want to take away from anybody that's been a coordinator, but I don't think you have to have coordinator experience. A coordinator is in charge of the four or five guys that are the position coaches. As an offensive line, you coach 6-7 guys. That's what he is, he's a coordinator. He coordinates what those five assistant coaches plug in together, so on a specific play, everything is done A-B-C-D, 1-2-3-4. That's the way it's supposed to be.
"I think you have to be a leader to be a head coach. That's the biggest thing. There have been some great head coaches that have never been a coordinator. There have been some great head coaches that have been a coordinator for one or two years. I don't know where I'll fit. I know how to coach football and I look forward to an opportunity, and hopefully it will arise here."
Have you spoken to Joe Gibbs about rejoining the Redskins staff?
"No, I have not talked to Washington. That was a lot of speculation. Joe Gibbs is a great coach. I played for him, I coached with him. He hired me to coach when I retired. He's a great football coach. He's got that area excited. I imagine he's going to do well, but there have been no talks about going back to Washington. That's really not an issue."
How did you first get into coaching?
"We won a Super Bowl the '91 season, the '92 Super Bowl we beat Buffalo. They had Plan B back then and I retired. I retired because it wasn't because I didn't think I could play anymore. I couldn't play at the level that I was accustomed to playing. After 11 years you get nicked up a little bit and that was fine."
"When I retired I had no idea what I wanted to do. Joe Gibbs asked me what I wanted to do. I said I've never planned anything yet. Something will fall into place. I may dig ditches for a living. I may work in a steel mill for a living. Whatever happens happens.
"A month later he called me and asked me if I would like to coach the tight ends, at which time I accepted the job. Is it as exciting as playing? No, it's not, but when you're done, it's the next best thing to being there. I get excited coaching football because I want to see players do well. I want to see them succeed. I get more upset when they fail, when we fail. I probably get more excited when things go well and we do well and they do well. It's exciting."
What was it like coaching Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh?
"Kordell's a good player. Kordell had a great year in Pittsburgh my first year in the 2001 season. He made all-pro, we were 13-3, went into the playoffs. He's a great athlete and good player. It's one of those things. Certain things change, and things happen here or there. Kordell's a great player in this league."
What have you taken from Joe Gibbs and Bill Cowher?
"I think it's a combination of everything. It's just like the way everybody grows. Kids growing up, they take certain qualities from mom, certain qualities from dad. In football I've got qualities from Joe Moore, an offensive line coach I had in college. I've got qualities from Joe Gibbs. I've got qualities from Joe Bugel, Jim Hannifan, I've got things from Bill Cowher.
"I think it's a combination of everything and I think I'm smart enough to know that some qualities you like, some qualities you don't like. You're also smart enough to realize that some things work. They may not always be right, they might not always be wrong. There's more than one way to skin a cat. The bottom line is to win football games."
Would you be involved in every aspect of the team as head coach?
"I think it starts at the top. How much hands-on you do I think depends on how things are going around on the outside. If things are working well … if it's not broke, don't try to fix it. Don't tinker with it. If things are going well, obviously I feel that I would have an input. I would determine which way we would go with the things and then we'll take it from there. I think it starts at the top and it goes down. If things are not working, then it's my fault. And if things are working, then the players are doing an excellent job in executing the things that we've put in the game plan."
What was your initial reaction when Jerry called?
"I was excited about it. I'm excited about the opportunity. It was a little shock, but I've always figured that if you're good enough at something, then people are going to find you. You don't have to go out and be selling yourself and different things like that. I have a lot of confidence in my ability. I would love the opportunity. I'm excited about it.
"Have I ever been through it before? No. All they're going to get from me is honest answers. That's all you're going to get. I've never been through this before. I don't know what to say, so I'm going to tell you the truth. That's the way I feel. Do I think I can coach football and win games? Yes. Should the Chicago Bears be back on top of the NFC North? Yes. Can we get there? Yes."
Should you be the Bears' head coach?
"I think so. I have a lot of confidence in my ability. That's one thing I'm not shy of. I don't have to get out and brag and sell it, but I'm confident."
How did they leave things with you?
"We still have some meetings to go on, and again, that's a timetable that they have. I imagine that they're probably going to interview other candidates. That's to be expected. I would expect them to exhaust all possible avenues. That's what I would do as a coach. I'm going to look at every type way we can move the football. I would expect them to look at every possible candidate that's out there and make the best choice and go from there."