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Chicago Bears fire head coach, general manager

Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery were fired Monday.

Emery was 23-25 in three seasons with the Bears, firing Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season in 2012 and replacing him with first-time NFL head coach Marc Trestman.

Trestman was hired in a winding interview process that included more than 12 candidates. The other finalist for the opening was Bruce Arians, who just completed a 10-6 season with the Arizona Cardinals.

Trestman said Sunday he planned to return, but after a 6-10 finish and drama-filled season, his fate was determined several weeks ago. The Bears lost five straight games to end the season and eight of their final 10.

Chicago was 8-8 in 2013.

“I want to thank Virginia, George and the McCaskey family, Phil Emery and Ted Phillips for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach of the Chicago Bears,” Trestman said in a statement Monday. “I also want to thank all the coaches and players who gave us everything we asked over the past two years. I have tremendous respect for this organization. Chicago is a special city with great fans. I appreciate the warm support my family and I received.”

Billed as a quarterback whisperer, Trestman had strong results as a rookie coach. The Bears finished second in the NFL in scoring to the Denver Broncos in 2013, but the decline was dramatic in 2014. Chicago was 21st in passing and 23rd in scoring.

Emery’s biggest decisions did not pan out. He invested $126 million in quarterback Jay Cutler prior to the 2014 season on a seven-year deal that made Cutler the NFL’s highest-paid player in 2014 at $22.5 million. The belief, Emery said at the time, was Cutler was a franchise-caliber quarterback who could blossom under Trestman’s direction. That was not the case in Cutler’s second year in the system. He led the NFL in turnovers and was benched by Trestman for journeyman Jimmy Clausen in Week 16.

Entering 2014, Emery vowed to fix a defense that was among the league’s worst under defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. But his biggest investments were busts. Defensive end Lamarr Houston tore a knee ligament celebrating his only sack of the season at New England eight weeks into the season. Veteran Jared Allen had 5.5 sacks, and Emery said earlier this month that he was pleased with Allen’s effort and play against the run.

He had mixed results in the draft, snagging wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the second round in 2012 but missed on the rest of the class. He scored two-time Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long 20th overall in 2013, and right tackle Jordan Mills in the fifth round the same year.

Emery also invested a first-round pick in Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin, who was moved to linebacker after not making an impact as an edge rusher.

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