Source: Alex Van Pelt, Bears to talk
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The first attempt by the Chicago Bears to hire a former member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved unfruitful, but that won't stop the team from speaking with former Bucs quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt about the same position, according to a source.
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The Bears plan to interview Van Pelt sometime this week, according to the source. But it's unclear where the meeting will take place because as of Monday evening, Bears coach Lovie Smith hadn't yet returned to the Chicago area. Smith owns a home in the Tampa area, and it's likely his meeting with Van Pelt could take place there.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler isn't expected to have any major input on Smith's final decision, according to another source.
Van Pelt, 41, worked the past two seasons as Tampa Bay's quarterbacks coach, but became a casualty of the staff purge after a 2011 season in which the Buccaneers finished 4-12. The Bears initially offered their open position to Van Pelt's former colleague in Tampa Bay, Greg Olson, who served as offensive coordinator of the Buccaneers. But Olson spurned the Bears to take a job as the quarterbacks coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
According to a source, family considerations played a major role in Olson's decision. Olson's wife, Lissa, serves as the associate head coach of the track team at the University of South Florida, and the couple also has young twins, making a long-distance move unappealing.
A former NFL quarterback, Van Pelt began his career as a coach with the Frankfurt Galaxy in 2005, after a playing career that included stops in Pittsburgh (1993), Kansas City (1994) and Buffalo (1995-03).
With the Bills, Van Pelt played in 31 games with 11 starts and passed for 2,985 yards and 16 touchdowns. Van Pelt's coaching career includes two stints with the Bills (volunteer offensive quality control coach in 2005 and quality control coach from 2006-2007, quarterbacks coach from 2008-2009 and offensive coordinator in 2009), with another short tenure in between with the University of Buffalo in 2006 as the quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator.
In Tampa Bay, Van Pelt worked with Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, who passed for 7,043 yards over the past two seasons for 41 touchdowns with 28 interceptions and passer ratings of 95.9 and 74.6.
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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