A day after running backs coach Stan Drayton announced he was leaving on his own with one year remaining on his contract, the Chicago Bears have fired two assistants with longtime ties to head coach John Fox.
Offensive line coach Dave Magazu, Fox’s longest-tenured assistant, was released as was assistant defensive backs coach Sam Garnes, according to a league source. Drayton departed Tuesday for the University of Texas.
Fox and general manager Ryan Pace are scheduled to hold a joint end-of-season media session at 11 a.m. at Halas Hall where they will be asked about the future direction of the coaching staff.
Magazu, who began working for Fox in 2003 in Carolina, was not popular with the offensive linemen and some wondered privately if he would be let go during the season with the team struggling. The Bears had an interesting dynamic in play where the team essentially had four O-line coaches. Ben Wilkerson had the title of assistant offensive line coach and Kevin Mawae, who was an intern for training camp, was hired for the remainder of the season because he was so well liked by the players. Additionally, tight ends coach Frank Smith had a natural hand in work with the offensive line and took a more vocal role during this season.
Outsiders speculated that Fox, who has not been known for high turnover on his staffs previously in Denver and Carolina, would hesitate to let go longtime assistants but it has happened as the Bears begin the work of digging out from a 3-13 season.
Garnes was an assistant secondary coach/safeties for four seasons with Fox in Denver and worked with him in Carolina in 2010 before that.