Chicago Bears hire Eric Washington as defensive coordinator

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Eric Washington is returning to Chicago as the defensive coordinator for the Bears, with whom he began his NFL coaching career.

Washington spent the previous four seasons with the Buffalo Bills. He was promoted to assistant head coach/defensive line coach before this season.

“He is a great communicator with elite leadership skills and he will enhance our current defensive staff,” coach Matt Eberflus said Saturday in a news release announcing the move. “His track record speaks for itself with coordinator experience as well as expertise in the area of defensive line.”

Washington's first NFL coaching job was with the Bears in 2008, serving as a defensive assistant. The Shreveport, Louisiana, native was promoted to defensive line coach in 2010.

Chicago had been without a defensive coordinator since Alan Williams resigned in September for what he said were personal reasons. Eberflus called the defensive plays after Williams departed two games into his second season with Chicago, and it remains to be seen what the arrangement is with Washington on the staff.

Led by an improved defense, the Bears went 7-10 in Eberflus’ second season. They finished with a league-worst 3-14 record in 2022.

Washington, who played tight end in college at Grambling State, is beginning his second stint as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. He also held that position in Carolina from 2018-19, and the Panthers ranked second in the league in sacks with 53 in 2019.

Chicago also will have a new offensive coordinator next season, after it hired Shane Waldron on Tuesday. Waldron is stepping in for Luke Getsy, who was fired after two years.