Moving On Up

The Bears' entire coaching staff is expected to return intact next season with one exception. <p>

The only defection looks to be linebackers coach Dale Lindsey, who was hired Thursday as defensive coordinator by the San Diego Chargers under new head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Lindsey, a former NFL player, was instrumental in the development of linebackers Brian Urlacher, Warrick Holdman and Rosevelt Colvin in three seasons with the Bears. The 59-year-old returns to the Chargers, where he coached linebackers from 1992-96.

Although they were sorry to see him go, the Bears wished Lindsey well in his new position.

"That's a real good promotion," said Bears general manager Jerry Angelo. "I talked to Dale when they called to ask permission (to speak with Lindsey about a job) and he was very motivated, having never been a coordinator, to have that opportunity."

Lindsey's departure creates what could be the only vacancy on the Bears' coaching staff. Angelo said that NFL Coach of the Year Dick Jauron is close to signing a contract extension. The club hopes to have Jauron's new deal completed prior to the beginning of free agency March 1.

"We're moving through that," Angelo said. "We're talking almost daily. It's just a matter of some language; dotting some I's and crossing some t's. Dick Jauron will be the coach of this football team."

Angelo is also confident the Bears will re-sign defensive coordinator Greg Blache in the next few days. Offensive coordinator John Shoop is already under contract for the 2002 season.

Assistant coaches Bob Wylie (offensive line), Charlie Coiner (offensive quality control) and Chuck Bullough (defensive quality control) have recently inked new deals, and Rex Norris (defensive line) and Vance Bedford (defensive backs) are among those expected to reach new agreements within a week.

"We've extended several assistant coaches' contracts," Angelo said. "I'm very positive about the way things are going and we'll continue to work through it. I sense that we'll get the rest of them wrapped up shortly, through the weekend or the early part of next week."

The organization plans on showing its appreciation after Jauron and his staff led the surprising Bears to their first NFC Central title since 1990.

"We're going to take care of our coaches," Angelo said. "We are going to reward them. I feel we have made them fair and attractive offers. I would be very surprised if we didn't get all of (their contracts) done."

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