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Dave Toub, Bears in negotiations

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears' exclusive 15-day negotiating period with special teams coordinator Dave Toub expires on Monday. Come Tuesday, the respected assistant can start to entertain offers from around the league for similar positions.


The Miami Dolphins, meanwhile, are continuing their search for a new head coach. Toub interviewed for the vacant Dolphins job a few days after the conclusion of the regular season.

While it's unclear if Toub and the Bears are anywhere close to agreeing on a new deal, the two sides did begin to negotiate last week, per a league source.

Under Toub's guidance, the Bears annually rank as one of the top special teams unit in the league, finishing No. 1 overall in 2006 and 2007. That consistency has come despite major roster turnover almost every year.

This past season, Corey Graham became the fifth Bears' special teams player selected to the Pro Bowl since Toub arrived in Chicago since 2004, joining Brendon Ayanbadejo (2), Devin Hester (3), Robbie Gould and Johnny Knox.

With such a proven track record of success, Toub could be seeking a substantial raise in his next contract.

In the event Toub lands the head coaching job in Miami, or accepts a more lucrative deal to coach special teams for another NFL team in 2012, the Bears could look to promote special teams assistant coach Kevin O'Dea, who is the former special teams coordinator for the New York Jets (2008-09) and Arizona Cardinals (2004-05).

The Bears also might decide to look outside the organization; there is expected to be no shortage of candidates given the importance placed on special teams by Bears head coach Lovie Smith, plus resources such as Hester, Gould, Knox, punter Adam Podlesh and long snapper Patrick Mannelly already in place.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.