Chuck Pagano, a longtime NFL coach who spent the last two seasons as the Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator, is retiring, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo and Ian Rapoport.
Pagano, 60, presided over a Bears defense that finished 11th and 8th in yards allowed during his two seasons with the team, respectively. In 2020, Chicago’s defense finished 14th in the NFL in scoring, 12th in passing, 15th in rushing, eighth in third down efficiency and fifth in red zone efficiency. The Bears defense was led by linebackers Khalil Mack (nine sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries), Roquan Smith (139 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions), Danny Trevathan (113 tackles) and safety Eddie Jackson (82 tackles, three forced fumbles). The Bears went 8-8 during the regular season before falling to the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Pagano began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with USC in 1984. After 18 seasons in the college ranks (including a successful six-year run as the Miami Hurricanes’ secondary coach), Pagano broke into the NFL in 2001 as the Cleveland Browns’ secondary coach, a position he held for four years.
After time in Oakland and North Carolina, Pagano spent three years as the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary coach before spending the 2011 season as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator. In 2012, Pagano was hired as the Indianapolis Colts’ coach, a position he held through the 2017 season. During his first seasons in Indianapolis, Pagano guided to the Colts to three playoff appearances and a trip to the AFC title game in 2014.
The Bears will now begin the process of finding Pagano’s successor. Raheem Morris is among the possible candidates — he served as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Morris, who served as the Atlanta Falcons’ defensive coordinator last season, went 4-7 as Atlanta’s interim coach after Dan Quinn was fired following an 0-5 start.