John Fox soon will interview for the Chicago Bears' head-coaching vacancy, but he is not locked in for the job, according to league sources.
He is a veteran coach with a winning record and meets much of the criteria the Bears envision in a possible pairing with a first-year general manager Ryan Pace.
However, the Bears have granted Pace final authority on the coaching hire, and sources say the 37-year-old GM will want to be certain his choice has the sustained energy to embrace the challenge of leading a team that can overcome a competitive NFC North division and win a Super Bowl.
Fox coached the Panthers and Broncos to Super Bowls, losing both title games.
He guided the Broncos to four straight playoff seasons during his tenure in Denver and compiled a 46-18 record.
His career head-coaching record with the Broncos and Panthers is 119-89 with a combined playoff record of 8-6.
Pace has some familiarity with Fox through mutual friends, including Saints coach Sean Payton.
Pace worked 13 years in personnel for New Orleans starting in 2002, overlapping in the NFC South with Fox, who coached the Panthers from 2002 to 2010.
The leading consultant for the Bears has been former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, who had an excellent relationship with both Fox and Payton when they served on the same staff as Giants coordinators under Jim Fassel.
The Bears have been impressed with a number of candidates they have interviewed, including Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
Bowles is considered a favorite for the Falcons, Quinn has turned in strong interviews with the Jets, 49ers, Falcons and Bears, and Gase is still alive with the 49ers and Bears, sources said.