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When Lovie Smith became the head coach of the Chicago Bears more than two years ago, he turned to the college ranks for many of his assistant hires. It appears history could repeat itself with the secondary coach opening.

The Bears have talked with Michigan defensive backs coach Ron English about replacing Perry Fewell. Fewell was hired as the Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator earlier in the week.

English has served at the position with the Wolverines for the past three seasons and has been in the college coaching ranks for 12 years. He is expected to interview with the Bears as soon as today.

The Bears already went through the process with St. Louis Rams assistant secondary coach Gill Byrd. The team was denied permission by the Indianapolis Colts to do the same with Leslie Frazier.

The Sun-Times reported a third candidate to be University of Washington defensive backs coach Steven Wilks.

Fewell's exit means the Bears will be on their third secondary coach in three seasons. A year ago, Vance Bedford left for a defensive coordinator job at Oklahoma State.

Ironically, Bedford came to the Bears in 1999 from Michigan. He spent four years in Ann Arbor before being hired by Dick Jauron. He was one of just two holdovers from Jauron's staff when Smith came on board.

Ideally the Bears would like to make the decision by next week, which would give the new coach two weeks to get acclimated to the personnel before heading to the scouting combine. Considering the team is expected to address the secondary in the draft, making a solid hire could be vital to any selection being a contributor as a rookie.

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