Vic Fangio was introduced as the head coach of the Denver Broncos Thursday wearing a tie given to him by Bears chairman George McCaskey, who told the now-former defensive coordinator he couldn’t wear his trademark gray sweatshirt and sweatpants to his press conference in Colorado. 

Fangio expressed appreciation for the McCaskey family, as well as general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy. And as for his former players, with whom he coordinated the NFL’s best defense in 2018:

"It's a special group, a group that I thoroughly enjoyed coaching and will miss coaching,” Fangio said. 

Pace and Nagy echoed that appreciation in statements released shortly before Fangio’s press conference ( But they now have a important, challenging task ahead: Finding the right defensive coordinator to give this group the best chance of maintaining and/or building on the success it had under Fangio. 

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on “Bernstein & McKnight” on WSCR-670 AM Thursday the Bears should have their pick of available defensive coordinators, given the attractiveness of coaching a group of players coming off being the league’s No. 1 defense in 2018. Former New York Jets coach and friend to the Nagy family Todd Bowles is off the table, though, having decided to honor his commitment to Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday. 

But beyond Bowles, there will be plenty of worthy candidates who would be interested in coaching a group of players that returns three All-Pros — outside linebacker Khalil Mack, cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson — as well an established talents in defensive lineman Akiem Hicks and inside linebacker Danny Trevathan and an ascending player in inside linebacker Roquan Smith.