Bears Promote Babich

As a result of having a great defensive season has made the coaches on that side of the ball a hot commodity for other teams. In order to keep linebackers coach Bob Babich happy with his decision not to interview with another team, the Bears promoted him to assistant head coach.

Former Bears coach Dick Jauron recently took on the same role with the Bills and was interested in interviewing Babich as the defensive coordinator opening with Buffalo.

"He brings quite a bit to the table," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said of Babich on the team's Web site. "It's a well-deserved promotion. Bob had an opportunity to interview for the coordinator position (with) the Bills. He didn't do that; he chose to stay here. We haven't finished the job yet that we set out to do."

Babich and Smith have a close relationship that dates back to their time together as assistant coaches at Tulsa in 1984-86. They reunited in 2003 for Smith's final season as Rams defensive coordinator, with Babich as his linebackers coach. After being named as the head coach of the Bears on Jan. 15, 2004, Smith hired Babich two days later.

The new deal will prohibit any team from talking to Babich unless he is offered a head-coaching position.

Babich coached Pro Bowlers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs in 2005. Urlacher also took Defensive Player of the Year honors under the tutelage of Babich. Urlacher edged out Briggs for the team lead in tackles 171 to 170. Hunter Hillenmeyer became a full-time starter this season and finished with 71 stops.

Prior to coming to the NFL, Babich was the head coach at North Dakota State from 1997-2002. Babich was also a collegiate assistant at Pittsburgh from 1994-96, East Carolina from 1992-93, Bowling Green in 1991, Tulsa in 1990 and 1984-87 and Wisconsin from 1988-89.

Leaving Town?
There is a report that secondary coach Perry Fewell is a candidate for the same defensive coordinator position that Babich turned down an interview for with the Bills.

Fewell got his NFL start in 1998 under Jauron, who was the defensive coordinator of Jacksonville at the time. In his first season with the Bears, Fewell helped in the development of Pro Bowl CB Nathan Vasher and S Chris Harris, who started 13 games as a rookie.

Pro Bowl No More
The NFL made a mistake when telling TE Desmond Clark he was added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster as a "need" player. The team needed a long snapper and thought Clark held the position with the Bears, but he's actually the backup to Patrick Mannelly.

Clark has been replaced by Mike Bartrum, the long snapper and reserve tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Bears will only have three players in the Feb. 12th Pro Bowl. DT Tommie Harris will start, while Vasher and Briggs will appear as reserves. Urlacher (hamstring), S Mike Brown (calf) and C Olin Kreutz (ankle) have all withdrawn from the game because of injuries.

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