John Fox has been fired as head coach of the Chicago Bears after Chicago's third consecutive last-place finish in the NFC North, the team announced on Monday.
Fox, whose contract ran through the 2018 season, had a 14-34 record with the Bears since being hired in January 2015 after a four-year stint as coach of the Denver Broncos.
"Thank you to all the players, coaches, the city of Chicago and Bears fans everywhere, your passion for the game and this team is unmatched in the NFL," Fox said in a statement. "Today is the tough part of our results-oriented business but I wish the Bears organization the best for years to come."
"Everybody's sad about it," linebacker Lamarr Houston said. "He's a great coach. He's a great man. He teaches you more than just football. ... It's just sad news. You hate for anybody to lose their job."
Running back Jordan Howard also reacted to the firing on Twitter.
Damn Foxy things didn't go the way we wanted but I appreciate you for taking a chance on me and believing in me when everybody else didn't. Much love for you coach pic.twitter.com/0v2CXMy5rB— Jordan Howard (@JHowardx24) January 1, 2018
Fox coached the Broncos to four consecutive division titles and a Super Bowl appearance, but he failed to duplicate that success with the Bears, who haven't had a winning season since 2012 and have made the playoffs just once in the past 11 seasons.
"What I do know about Fox is that he's a great, passionate coach who didn't give up on us and didn't quit on us," Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "One thing we did appreciate about him is he always pointed the thumb and not the finger, so he takes all blame and we love him and I know guys are going to miss him."
He owns a career record of 133-123 in 16 seasons with Chicago, Denver and the Carolina Panthers.
Fox's .292 winning percentage is second worst in franchise history to Abe Gibron, who went 11-30-1 (.274) from 1972 to '74.
The Bears particularly struggled against their division rivals under Fox, going 3-15 against NFC North opponents over the past three seasons.