You can very likely count current Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald out of the Matt Nagy sweepstakes.
Fitzgerald is one coach who won’t be leading the Chicago Bears any time soon, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
“It has been well-known throughout the industry for years how high Bears ownership is on Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who numerous NFL teams have pursued in recent years,” La Canfora reported on November 28. “However, sources said that Fitzgerald, who recently signed a big extension to remain at the school he also played for, would not be interested in a jump to the Bears.”
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Bears Spoke to Fitzgerald Before Drafting QB Justin Fields
The Bears initially spoke to Fitzgerald, who is good friends with Nagy, before they drafted quarterback Justin Fields in the first round this year. Fitzgerald was one of the few coaches to keep Fields in check in college when Northwestern held Fields to 114 yards passing, a career low for the young QB at Ohio State, in December of 2020, and the Wildcats coach has had a fondness for the rookie QB for a while now.
“I will tell you there were a number of NFL head coaches and GMs that reached out to me about Justin Fields this year and I’m not surprised that he went to the Bears,” Fitzgerald said about Fields, per Adam Hoge of NBC Sports. “There were a couple other teams I thought might jump up to take him but I think the Bears did what they had to do to go get the quarterback they wanted.”
Fitzgerald also had some high praise for the 22-year-old signal-caller.
“You start to dive in a little more and you’re like, this guy is unbelievable,” he added. “Then you find out the background of his family and you find out who he was as a student, just all those things — this is potentially a program-changing type player at the QB position.”
For what it’s worth, Fitzgerald thinks the Bears got it right by selecting Fields: “Sometimes the opportunity is exactly what it should be and it just seems to me that the quarterback opportunity here in Chicago is exactly what he should be,” he said.
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Fitzgerald Under Contract With Northwestern Until 2030
A self-admitted “die-hard Bear fan,” Fitzgerald, who is an Illinois native, likely won’t be heading to Halas Hall to replace Nagy anytime soon. Despite the dream job-type of scenario coaching the Bears would present, Fitzgerald agreed to a 10-year extension with the Wildcats that runs through 2030. NFL insider Albert Breer reported in late 2020 that the Bears were the only NFL team Fitzgerald would consider leaving Northwestern for, but that never happened.
He since inked the contract extension, and barring a miracle, he’ll keep adding to his 109-90 overall record at Northwestern.