By Chris Emma—
(670 The Score) Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur got his start as a graduate assistant for George Perles at Michigan State, where he had previously been a four-year letterman and co-captain for the program’s Rose Bowl win in 1988. From there, a rich football education took place.
Shurmur worked four different roles at Michigan State and stayed on staff for Nick Saban’s tenure. He transitioned to the NFL in 1999 and spent a decade with Andy Reid’s coaching staff in Philadelphia, which became a launching pad for coaching careers.
After going 9-23 in two seasons leading the Browns, he spent two years as offensive coordinator for Chip Kelly’s Eagles and has most recently made a mark in Minnesota, helping the Vikings find continuity on offense and a first-round bye in the playoffs despite quarterback injuries.
The football upbringing of Shurmur has seen many hats and influences along the way, which is part of the reason the Bears have expressed interest in him. On Friday morning, Bears general manager Ryan Pace – joined by team chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips – interviewed Shurmur in Minneapolis for their coaching vacancy a day after meeting with Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards.
Shurmur, 50, has helped career backup quarterback Case Keenum become the capable leader in a 13-3 season. There has been plenty of adversity for the Vikings’ offense, which dealt with Teddy Bridgewater’s major injury in 2016 and Sam Bradford’s own ailments this season. Running back Dalvin Cook, a first-round pick, was lost for the season after four games, but the offense kept producing.
Pace had to be fascinated to find out how Shurmur molded Keenum – whom he passed on for Mike Glennon in free agency last March – into a quality starting quarterback. And as will be a theme throughout this entire coaching search, Pace wanted to know Shumur’s plan for Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the No. 2 overall draft pick last April who’s the future of the Chicago franchise.
In the interview, Shurmur surely drew wisdom from his three decades of coaching experience and key influences in Saban, Reid, Kelly and others. Now, time will tell how much of an impression that made on Pace and the Bears.