Bears hire ex-Oregon coach Helfrich as offensive coordinator

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) The Chicago Bears have hired former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich as their offensive coordinator.

The Bears also announced Friday that Chris Tabor will become special teams coordinator and Charles London will take over as running backs coach.

Helfrich led Oregon to a 37-16 record in four seasons as head coach. That included a run to the first College Football Playoff championship game at the end of the 2014 season with Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota at quarterback. He was fired on the heels of a 4-8 finish in 2016.

Before becoming the Ducks’ head coach, Helfrich was their quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 2009-12 under Chip Kelly. With their fast-paced and prolific spread-option offense, the Ducks went 46-7 during that time.

Helfrich didn’t call plays as Oregon’s offensive coordinator and he won’t in Chicago. New coach Matt Nagy plans to do that.

The Bears are looking to get the most out of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and emerge from one of the worst runs in franchise history.

They fired John Fox after three seasons with a 14-34 record that gave him the second-worst winning percentage for a Chicago coach. Nagy spent the past decade working under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City, serving as the Chiefs’ sole offensive coordinator this past season.

He takes over a 5-11 team that missed the playoffs for the seventh straight season and hasn’t finished above .500 since Lovie Smith got fired after going 10-6 in 2012.

The development of Trubisky, the No. 2 overall draft pick last spring, will go a long way toward lifting an offense that ranked 30th overall and last in passing. But the Bears will need to acquire some play-making receivers, which they sorely lacked this past season.

Tabor spent the past seven seasons as Cleveland’s special teams coordinator. The Browns ranked sixth in kickoff return average against (21.8), seventh in the NFL in punt return average (9.9), ninth in total kick return yards (8,974) and 10th in total return yards allowed (7,627) during that time. Tabor was Chicago’s assistant special teams coach from 2008-2010.

London has spent nine seasons in the NFL – the past four as Houston’s running backs coach. He was an offensive assistant with the Bears from 2007-09.

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