By Chris Emma–
(CBS) John Fox has hired three more assistants to his Bears coaching staff, finalizing a group that saw plenty of turnover after a 3-13 season.
The Bears have a new receivers coach, hiring University of Tennessee assistant Zach Azzanni, who will be the third individual in that position in as many years. They also hired Brandon Staley to coach their outside linebackers and re-hired Derius Swinton II to serve as assistant special teams coach.
Azzanni comes to the Bears after coaching the Volunteers as their passing game coordinator. He has coached Tennessee’s receivers since 2013.
Azzanni has never coached in the NFL ranks, as he’s been in the college game since 1999 when he got started with Valparaiso. He served at Wisconsin for one season in 2012 after years coaching at Western Kentucky, Florida, Central Michigan and Bowling Green. At Central Michigan, Azzanni coached receiver Antonio Brown, who emerged as a superstar in the NFL.
What’s next for Azzanni’s position group remains to be seen. Alshon Jeffery is currently without a contract, Kevin White’s future is in doubt after another leg surgery, Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson are candidates to be cut and Cameron Meredith has emerged as the most sure thing at receiver for the Bears.
The Bears are hiring Azzanni after losing receivers coach Curtis Johnson to the New Orleans Saints shortly after the Senior Bowl. Johnson took over for Mike Groh, who made a move to the Rams during last offseason.
Staley also comes to the Bears from the college ranks, having most recently served as defensive coordinator of Division-III John Carroll. He had previously served the same role at University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Staley replaces Clint Hurtt, now of the Seahawks, whose contract wasn’t renewed by the Bears.
Swinton II rejoins the Bears as assistant special teams coach, a position which he held in 2015. He joined Chip Kelly’s coaching staff with the 49ers in 2016 to become special teams coordinator. The entire coaching staff was dismissed after one season.
Fox has made several moves to his coaching staff since season’s end, hiring Curtis Modkins to replace Stan Drayton as running backs coach, Jeremiah Washburn to replace the dismissed Dave Magazu as offensive line coach and replacing Sam Garnes with Roy Anderson as the new assistant defensive backs coach.
With these hires, Fox’s coaching staff is again complete.