Cutler may want former coach

Updated: December 7, 2009, 7:59 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- For a job which currently isn't open, there's plenty of talk about the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator position.

Monday morning, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that, according to a source, former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis was interested in the Bears' offensive coordinator position, which is currently held by Ron Turner, whose contract runs out after the season.

Weis
Weis

But if current quarterback Jay Cutler has anything to say about who might replace Turner, he's likely to lobby for current USC offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, according to multiple sources who have talked with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Cutler knows Bates from their days in Denver, when Bates was an assistant to Mike Shanahan and worked with Cutler. After Shanahan was fired, Cutler told the team he would only stay in Denver if Bates stayed, according to Schefter's sources.

Bates left the Broncos to coach at USC, where the Trojans struggled (for them) to an 8-4 record. Cutler left for the Bears, who are 5-7 and are currently ranked 24th in the 32-team NFL in yards per game and are 22nd in scoring.

Bears coach Lovie Smith declined comment on any impending changes.

"You'd like for me to comment on something Charlie said? I can't comment," Smith said Monday. "I wouldn't know anything about that.

"We have an offensive coordinator in place now. I can comment about that."

Schefter's sources say that if Bates wants to leave for Chicago, USC will let him, and that Cutler will be a powerful advocate.

Weis, meanwhile, has six teams interested in him, according to the Sun-Times. But Chicago is close to his current home near South Bend, Ind., and would allow Weis' high school-aged son to finish school and his wife to continue working with the Weis' non-profit charity, Hannah and Friends.

Weis was a highly successful offensive coordinator in New England before leaving for Notre Dame, and is known for developing quarterbacks, including Tom Brady with the Patriots and, most recently, Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame.

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