Bears hire Tice as O-line coach

Updated: January 15, 2010, 11:43 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

The Chicago Bears hired Mike Tice to coach the offensive line, the first addition to a staff with several holes to fill.

Tice has spent the past three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars as the assistant head coach working primarily with tight ends. In Tice's first two seasons in Jacksonville, the Jaguars' rushing attack had the two most productive seasons in team history, gaining 2,541 yards in 2006 and 2,391 yards in 2007. Jacksonville set franchise records in 2007 for points (411), average yards per play (5.6) and touchdowns (50).

"[Bears coach] Lovie [Smith] and I shared a lot of thoughts on a lot of different things, and certainly the greatest thing about our meeting was the fact Lovie Smith and I are on the same page philosophically [regarding] which direction he would like the see the offense go," Tice said Friday on "The Afternoon Saloon" on ESPN 1000. "I feel very good in the fact that the [new offensive coordinator] Lovie brings in, or the Bears bring in for that position, is going to be compatible to the philosophy that Lovie and I share going forward."

Tice, a former tight end who played 13 seasons in the NFL, coached the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line from 1997 until the final game of the 2001 season when he took over as interim coach following Dennis Green's firing.

Tice was 32-33 in five-plus seasons with the Vikings before being fired following the 2005 season. He landed in Jacksonville with good friend and Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.

Tice inherits a Bears' offensive line that featured three new starters since the beginning of last season (Chris Williams, Frank Omiyale and Orlando Pace). The group struggled initially, but played much better down the stretch, especially after Williams was moved to left tackle.

"Hopefully, I can come in as a veteran player, as veteran coach and a guy who's been through both sides of it, and teach them awareness," Tice said. "Teach them some things that might help them become better pros."

As the Vikings' offensive line coach, Tice tutored five different players -- Matt Birk, Jeff Christy, Randall McDaniel, Todd Steussie and Korey Stringer -- to 10 Pro Bowl appearances. In 1998, when the Vikings scored an NFL-record 556 points, three Minnesota offensive linemen started in the Pro Bowl.

The Bears are still looking for offensive and defensive coordinators.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.