Bears fire two assistant coaches

Updated: January 13, 2014, 5:08 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- The Bears' failure to reach the postseason in head coach Marc Trestman's first season resulted in two changes to the coaching staff, but defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will stay in his current role.

The Bears announced Sunday that linebackers coach Tim Tibesar and defensive line coach Mike Phair will not return in 2014. The rest of the staff is expected to remain in place, according to the team.

"We thank Mike and Tim for their effort and dedication," Trestman said in a statement. "They are men of high character and integrity. These are not easy decisions and we do not attribute our lack of success on defense to two individuals. We need to improve in all areas defensively and that will be a focal point for us this offseason. The process starts with me as the head coach. Our search for a defensive line and linebackers coach has begun and we will be looking for the best candidates whose experience can bring the most out of our veteran and young players in both areas.

"Our team evaluation remains ongoing. We believe Mel is the right person to lead our defensive unit. He fully understands where we need to improve, has the skill set and leadership to oversee the changes that need to be made and to execute our plan to get the results we know are necessary."

Phair, one of the few holdovers from the Lovie Smith era, joined the Bears in 2011 after spending time with the Seattle Seahawks organization.

Tibesar lasted only one season with the Bears, even though he coached under Trestman for three years (2009-11) in the CFL for the Montreal Alouttes. Tibesar served as the defensive coordinator/linebackers coach for Purdue University in 2012 before arriving in Chicago.

The Bears' assistant coaches are expected to return to work on Monday after a brief vacation. Several of the assistant coaches are scheduled to be in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the East-West Shrine collegiate all-star game next week.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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