Turner Makes Return Trip to Chicago

The Bears didn't take long to find a replacement for Terry Shea. The team hired Ron Turner on Saturday to resurrect his career and the Bears offense.

Turner, who once held the same position for the Bears, reportedly agreed to a three-year deal worth approximately $1.5 million. He will talk to the media via conference call later today and be officially introduced later in the week.

Turner was fired by the University of Illinois in November and now has the task of fixing the worst offense in football. He held the offensive coordinator position with the Bears for four years (1993-96) before accepting the head coaching position at Illinois, where he compiled a 35-57 mark in eight seasons.

The Bears ranked dead last in total offense, points, third down offense and set team records for sacks allowed and penalties. The team had more lost fumbles (21) than offensive touchdowns (19).

Under Turner the Bears enjoyed some of their most successful offensive statistics. In 1995, Erik Kramer set a team record for passing yards 3,838 and touchdown passes (29). The team also had a their only pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Jeff Graham (1,301) and Curtis Conway (1,037). The team also saw Rashaan Salaam rush for 1,074 yards and 10 touchdowns.

It's Lovie Smith's commit to the running game that led him to believe Turner is the man for the job. The Bears had balanced attack with Turner doing the play-calling. Over four seasons there were just 36 more pass plays than running calls.

At this point, it appears Turner will likely bring one assistant with him from Illinois. Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand has been mentioned.

The Bears will now have to find a new strength coach, as Russ Riederer retired Saturday after 13 seasons with the team and four different coaching regimes.

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