- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- There are expected to be no shortage of candidates eying the Chicago Bears' special teams coordinator position in the wake of Dave Toub departing the organization after nine seasons.
One veteran assistant believed to be interested in the job is Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis, according to a source familiar with the situation.
DeCamillis was one of the 13 known candidates to meet with Bears general manager Phil Emery about the club's vacant head coaching position, but DeCamillis was not among the finalists invited to Halas Hall for a second interview.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing DeCamillis in any potential move to Chicago is the fact he is under contract with the Cowboys through the 2013 season. Unless the Bears offer the 47-year old the title of assistant head coach, Dallas would need to release DeCamillis from his contract in order for him to accept the same position with another organization.
Highly regarded for his work in NFL circles, DeCamillis has been a special teams coach since 1988 when he broke into the league with the Denver Broncos. DeCamillis followed a five-season run in Denver with stints with the New York Giants (1993-96), Atlanta Falcons (1997-06) and Jacksonville Jaguars (07-08) before arriving in Dallas in 2009.
One reason the Bears' job is so attractive is because Toub left behind a solid nucleus of special teams contributors, including: place kicker Robbie Gould, punter Adam Podlesh, long snapper Patrick Mannelly, Eric Weems, Blake Costanzo, Sherrick McManis and Craig Steltz. Former Pro Bowl return man Devin Hester is signed through next season but it's unclear what the Bears plan to do with Hester after a disappointing season.
When it became apparent Toub would be allowed to pursue other opportunities, the Bears attempted to interview Cleveland Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, but were denied permission. Tabor spent three years in Chicago with Toub as the Bears assistant special teams coach until he landed the job in Cleveland under recently fired head coach Pat Shurmur. New Browns' head coach Rob Chudzinski might be inclined to keep Tabor on his staff given the success Cleveland had on special teams last season.
Current Bears' assistant special teams coach Kevin O'Dea remains under contract and would be a qualified choice if the Bears chose stay in-house to fill the position. O'Dea was the former special teams coach of the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals and is well-liked and respected by the veteran special teamers on the Bears' roster.