Rough stint for Dent

As Super Bowl XXXVIII approached Richard Dent was on top of the world. Poised for election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well as the chance to return for a second season as the Bears assistant defensive line coach, the future looked bright. However over the past two weeks things have not gone as planned.

Although Dent's Hall of Fame campaign made progress in his second year of eligibility, as he was among the final 10 being considered for election, he didn't receive the minimum positive vote of 80 percent.

While there is still a great chance Dent will be enshrined in Canton someday, the likelihood of him getting another NFL coaching gig isn't as good.

The hiring of Dent was considered by many of a public relations move. When Dick Jauron decided not to offer Mike Singletary a spot on his coaching staff a public relations gaff followed. Fans called for a former Bear from the glory days of Super Bowl XX run to be included on a coaching level. Soon after Dent accepted a newly created position as assistant defensive line coach focussing primarily pass rush.

In many respects the idea sounded good in theory. The team had two young defensive ends, in Alex Brown and Michael Haynes that needed someone to teach them how to put pressure on the quarterback. Known as the "sack master", Dent is considered one of the best pass rushers in NFL history. He's owns the record for most sacks by a Bear with 124.5 and his career total of 137.5 ranks fifth in NFL history.

However a player not known for his work ethic as a player, Dent was not retained even though new defensive coordinator, Ron Rivera, is a former teammate.

Dent had a hard time getting instant results from his players. The Bears finished the 2003 campaign 17 sacks, which set a franchise low output. As a unit the defensive line only took down the quarterback 12 times, a total Dent matched or surpassed as an individual five times during his career.

Dent built a solid relationship with both Brown and Haynes during his short tenure as a coach. Brown in particular seemed to be adhering to Dent's theory of getting to the quarterback taking on his patented style of coming off the edge with one foot in the air. Brown led the team in sacks with a modest total of 5.5 sacks, but heading into his third season seems primed to have a double-digit campaign.

At this point Dent might have to walk away from the Bears, but he can take pride in the fact that induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a definite possibility.


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