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Bears hire Eric Washington as defensive coordinator

Eric Washington

In recent news, the Chicago Bears hired Eric Washington of the Buffalo Bills as the team’s new defensive coordinator.

“We are excited to announce that Eric Washington will be joining our team as the defensive coordinator,” said head coach Matt Eberflus, via the Chicago Bears.

“He is a great communicator with elite leadership skills, and he will enhance our current defensive staff. His track record speaks for itself, with coordinator experience as well as expertise in the area of the defensive line. I want to thank the other outstanding candidates that applied for this position.”

“My family and I are beyond excited to be returning to the Chicago Bears,” said the newly named defensive coordinator.

“It is humbling to have the opportunity to contribute to one of the most esteemed sports organizations in the world! I thank God and I appreciate Coach Eberflus, the Bears’ front office, and the McCaskey family for entrusting me with this responsibility,” Washington said.

According to the Chicago Bears, Washington’s NFL coaching career started with the Bears in 2008. He returns to Chicago as the team’s defensive coordinator after spending the previous four seasons in Buffalo (2020-23).

In 2023, Washington was promoted to assistant head coach/defensive line coach. He originally joined the Bills in 2020 as their defensive line coach before being promoted to the senior defensive assistant/defensive line coach for the 2022 season.

The Bills’ 2023 defense ranked fourth in sacks (54.0), tied for 10th in TFL (86), sixth in opponent gross passing yards per game (216.2) and tied for sixth in touchdowns allowed (34).

The Bills also ranked eighth in scrimmage yards per game (326) and fourth in points allowed per game (18.3).

Under Washington in 2022, the Bills finished the season ranked first in the AFC with 17.8 points allowed per game and ranked second in the NFL with 286 points allowed.

DT Ed Oliver earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording 6 tackles, 2 TFLs, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a sack ending in a safety in Week 11 vs. the Lions. Oliver marked the eighth player that Washington has coached to that honor, the Bears added.

In 2021, Buffalo’s defense ranked first in the NFL in points allowed per game (17.0) for the first time in franchise history and also finished first in yards allowed per game (272) and passing yards per game (163.0). They recorded 19 sacks and fueled a four-game win streak to finish the regular season.

Rookie DE Greg Rousseau earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week after logging the first interception of his career and also finished with five tackles and a sack at Kansas City in Week 5.

With Washington’s guidance in 2020, DE Jerry Hughes earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week after he tallied 2.0 sacks, one interception, a forced fumble, a pass defensed and six total tackles in Week 8, according to the Bears.

Prior to arriving in Buffalo, Washington spent nine seasons (2011-19) with the Carolina Panthers in various roles. He served as the defensive coordinator from 2018-19 and helped LB Luke Kuechly to a first-team All-Pro season in 2018 and second-team All-Pro honors in 2019. Under Washington in 2019, the Panthers defense ranked second in the NFL in sacks (53).

Washington began coaching in 1997 when he served as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M for one season before joining Ohio University’s staff as an assistant coach from 2001-03. Following three seasons with the Bobcats, Washington joined Northwestern’s coaching staff for four seasons as their defensive line coach (2004-07).

A Shreveport, Louisiana, native, Washington played tight end at Grambling State from 1989-90 and graduated with a degree in education from Grambling State in 1993. He and his wife, Amy, have a son, Ellis.

Sports Editor at Chicago Crusader Newspaper | + posts

Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.

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