Raiders opt out of Mike Tice interview

Updated: January 23, 2012, 11:42 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

MOBILE, Ala. -- The Chicago Bears assuaged concerns about the potential departure of offensive coordinator Mike Tice on Monday with an announcement that the coach is no longer in the running for the Oakland Raiders head coaching job.

"I would've loved to go through the process," Tice told ESPNChicago.com on Monday night.

Scheduled to interview with the Raiders on Tuesday at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Tice received a phone call Sunday night -- according to a league source -- from his agent Jimmy Sexton with news that Oakland decided to move into the second-interview phase of the process, and didn't want to wait until Tuesday to interview the coach.

Tice had been vacationing in Florida and California, and during that time the Raiders -- after receiving permission last week to interview the coach -- spoke to two candidates they immediately became interested in taking to the next phase of the process, according to the source. That led to the Raiders calling Sexton to cancel Tice's interview.

"It is what it is; they had a process and a timeline," Tice said. "I was disappointed I wasn't able to complete the interview process. But let me say this: I'm very excited about the opportunity and the new position I have with the Bears. We've got big fish to fry here. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

The Raiders requested permission from the Bears to interview Tice for their head coaching vacancy last Tuesday, according to sources.

Interestingly, the team had just denied the Minnesota Vikings to interview another assistant on the staff -- secondary coach Jon Hoke -- for a coordinator's position.

The former head coach of the Vikings from 2001-05, Tice never expected to receive another opportunity to be a head coach again, sources close to him said.

Tice led the Vikings to a record of 33-34, including a 1-1 mark in the playoffs, and during the coach's tenure the team set an NFL record for the most consecutive games with 300 yards or more on offense with 36 from 2002-04.

Tice, 52, joined the Bears in January 2010 after spending three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite Chicago fielding lesser talent along the offensive line and battling injuries within the unit, the group performed reasonably well under Tice's direction. The Bears lost two line starters in 2011, yet rushed for more than 2,000 yards for just the second time since 1990.

The Tennessee Titans requested permission last offseason to interview Tice for an offensive coordinator position. But the Bears immediately declined and rewarded Tice with a contract extension.

Tice likened the setback with the Raiders to a "you-snooze-you-lose situation," but remained upbeat about his future as the offensive coordinator of the Bears. The coaching staff is currently on vacation, but convenes at Halas Hall next Monday to begin planning for the offseason.

The club also plans next week on accelerating its search to fill vacancies for offensive line coach and passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

"I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason," Tice said. "And I think there are some great reasons to be in Chicago; can't wait to get started."

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter