A league source said the Bears denied a request from the Bengals to interview defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for an expected opening on their staff, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports.
Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is expected to join Jon Gruden with the Raiders.
Fangio, the Bears defensive coordinator under John Fox for three seasons, remains in the mix for the Bears’ head coach vacancy. On Wednesday, Fangio was the first candidate to interview for that job with general manager Ryan Pace.
However, Fangio will be free to meet with other teams, including the Bengals, beginning Tuesday. At that point the Bears will not be able to block Fangio because both his three-year contract and the grace period at the end of the season that prevents coaches from bolting immediately without permission will have expired.
The NFC North rival Packers are expected to be interested in meeting with Fangio as coach Mike McCarthy looks to replace defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
Multiple sources have indicated the Bears have potential interest in retaining Fangio, 59, if they go in a different direction at head coach. It’s unknown how Fangio would react to an opportunity to remain in place working for a head coach who was hired instead of him after three solid seasons in Chicago. The Bears defense finished this season ranked seventh against the pass, ninth in points allowed, 10th in total defense and 11th against the run. They tied for 13th with 22 takeaways.
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