English hired as Chicago's defensive backs coach

Updated: February 8, 2006, 12:02 PM ET
Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Ron English has joined the Chicago Bears as defensive backs coach after spending the previous three seasons as the University of Michigan's secondary coach.

English replaces Perry Fewell, who became the Buffalo Bills' defensive coordinator late last month.

English coached five all-Big Ten players, including All-Americans Marlin Jackson and Ernest Shazor, and Michigan's secondary intercepted 36 passes and returned four for touchdowns during those three seasons.

A 13-year college coaching veteran, English said he signed with the Bears on Monday.

"They're really the No. 1 defense in the NFL," English told The Associated Press. "They have young guys in the secondary that are under contract. And the organization along with Lovie Smith are as respected as anyone.

"Typically, coaches in my position have to break in with a struggling team, so to get this opportunity with a good, improving team is tremendous."

Led by a defense that allowed the fewest points during the regular season, the Bears went 11-5 and won the NFC North before losing to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC divisional playoffs.

English expressed gratitude to his old boss.

"If it wasn't for Lloyd Carr and Michigan, I wouldn't have gotten this opportunity," he said.

The Bears also signed offensive lineman Lennie Friedman to a one-year contract on Tuesday. The seven-year veteran appeared in one game for the Bears last season -- the regular-season finale at Minnesota -- after signing as a free agent in November.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press