Bears hire new defensive coordinator

Rod Marinelli’s office at Halas Hall was not vacant long.On Thursday, Marinelli packed his belongings. On Friday, the Bears hired former Jaguars and Browns defensive coordinator Mel Tucker to replace him.

Tucker, 41, is highly respected in NFL circles.  He has experience running a 4-3 as well as a 3-4. Among his influences have been Nick Saban, Romeo Crennel and Jack Del Rio.

Tucker’s defense played a heavy dose of Cover 2 in Jacksonville last year, but some of that may have been forced by personnel issues.

“I love him,” said former Bears safety Chris Harris, who played for the Jaguars this season. “He’s a very fun coach to play for. He is a great communicator.”

Tucker has been considered a head coaching candidate and has interviewed for head coaching positions, including the Jaguars’ job that went to Gus Bradley this week. In an interesting twist, Tucker could be replaced as the Jacksonville coordinator by former Bears linebackers coach Bob Babich.

Tucker was rumored to be a candidate for the Browns’ defensive coordinator position, but the team hired Ray Horton Friday afternoon.

Tucker served as the Jaguars’ interim head coach at the end of the 2011 season, going 2-3 after Del Rio was fired.

Tucker was a runner-up for the Wisconsin head coaching job that went to Gary Andersen. He played defensive back at the school in the early ‘90s.

By Dan Pompei and Brad Biggs Tribune reporters

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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