By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) — The Bears have hired Clint Hurtt to be their new assistant defensive line coach and notified Michael Sinclair that he will not return for the 2014 season.
Hurtt was previously the defensive line coach at the University of Louisville and announced in a statement Thursday that he was leaving for an NFL job.
“My ambition is to build a career in the NFL. I made a mark in recruiting and coaching at the collegiate level, but I think I can improve my career and begin a new one in the NFL,” Hurtt said in that statement.
Hurtt joins Paul Pasqualoni (defensive line) and Reggie Herring (linebackers) as new additions to the Bears’ coaching staff. Like the previous two additions, Hurtt has experience coaching multiple defensive fronts. Louisville ran a 3-3-5 defense, which former head coach Charlie Strong has become known for.
Hurtt’s hiring comes as somewhat of a surprise as the Bears had previously said the remainder of the coaching staff would remain in place for 2014. Sinclair was with the rest of the Bears’ coaching staff at Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala. this week.
Hurtt, 35, is currently under a two-year show-cause penalty from the NCAA for violations he committed at the University of Miami. New Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino originally retained Hurtt on his coaching staff, but the opportunity to coach in the NFL has changed things.
Apparently, Hurtt has come under some criticism for leaving Louisville, as he took to his Facebook page to explain that this wasn’t a ploy to eventually join Strong at Texas, where he took over as the Longhorns’ new head coach earlier this month..
Hurtt wrote late Thursday: “(Louisville athletic director) Tom Jurich is as good as gold some may feel me leaving for this opportunity is not right but he totally understood why I wanted this. No different then the reason I came here-to grow in this profession. He respected it and understood I told him this wasn’t a ploy to “hide out” and go to Texas. Lol people really don’t know me if they think I’m a follower. I follow one person and that’s God. I love Charlie Strong and (former Louisville defensive coordinator) Vance Bedford but I stated to Charlie long before this is what I wanted to do, coach in the NFL.”
Strong brought Bedford with him to Texas, but Hurtt did not make the move, presumably because the NCAA show-cause penalty makes it difficult for a penalized coach to jump from one job to another within college football because those penalties are imposed on the new school the coach is joining.
Those penalties, of course, don’t apply in the NFL, however.
“I truly looked forward to working with Bobby Petrino at Louisville, but I feel this is a great opportunity,” Hurtt said in the statement.
Hurtt, a former defensive lineman at the University of Miami, has no NFL coaching experience. He has served as defensive line coach in stops at FIU, Miami and Louisville and was also Miami’s and Louisville’s recruiting coordinator.
This is the second straight year Bears head coach Marc Trestman has added one of the top recruiters in college football to his coaching staff. Last year, he hired Mike Groh, former recruiting coordinator at Alabama, to be his wide receivers coach.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.