GREEN BAY – The Chicago Bears are again reportedly interested in Tom Clements, and this time, there’s nothing the Green Bay Packers can do about it.
According to the Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh, the Bears have requested permission to interview Clements for their vacant head-coaching position, and according to NFL rules, the Packers cannot block Clements from interviewing.
Lovie Smith was fired Monday after nine seasons.
Also, NFL rules state that if the Packers win Saturday night’s NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field, Clements can interview starting on Sunday. If the Packers lose, of course, he’d be free to interview whenever.
Haugh Tweeted that the McCaskey family has long held Clements, the former Notre Dame star, in “high regard.” The Bears requested to interview Clements for their vacant offensive coordinator position before the 2010 season, when Clements was the Packers’ quarterbacks coach. The Packers denied that request, and the Bears hired Mike Martz instead. Martz and Smith parted ways after two seasons, and Mike Tice was the team’s offensive coordinator this season.
The only coaching position that a team cannot block an assistant from interviewing for is head coach. It’s a popular misconception that a coach cannot be blocked from interviewing from a job that would be a promotion, but earlier this year, Packers coach Mike McCarthy blocked assistant Ben McAdoo for interviewing for the Miami Dolphins’ offensive coordinator job under Joe Philbin, a former Packers offensive coordinator himself. McAdoo shifted from tight ends coach to quarterbacks coach with the Packers shortly thereafter.
The Packers also blocked cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt from interviewing for the Oakland Raiders’ defensive coordinator job last year.
Clements would make sense for the Bears in that he has been terrific with quarterbacks, working with Brett Favre in 2006 and 2007, developing NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and bringing ex-backup and Seattle free-agent signee Matt Flynn from seventh-round draft pick to a player the Seahawks saw as a viable starter before rookie Russell Wilson stole the show.
Clements interviewed for the Penn State head-coaching vacancy last year. He has never been a head coach in college or the NFL.
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