LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday that he has spent "zero" time preparing for expected upcoming head coaching interviews with Miami and Denver, and instead is solely focused on Chicago’s home playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
“I have not returned one phone call, I have not done one piece of work for it,” Fangio said. “I refuse to. And that's it.
"Zero. Maybe that’s why I’m here. I don’t know. I have enough on my plate coaching these guys and the other things than ... deal with it as they come up."
Fangio, 60, interviewed for the Bears' head coaching job last offseason before agreeing to return as Chicago’s defensive coordinator on a new three-year deal to work alongside first-year head coach Matt Nagy.
San Francisco granted Fangio an interview for their head coaching position after Jim Harbaugh left following the 2014 season -- Fangio had served as Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator with the 49ers -- but the job went to Jim Tomsula, who lasted one season.
“If the situation is good [I’d consider it],” Fangio said. “Then you're going to say, 'What's good?' You know. There are a lot of things. You know, working with management, players, etc. I haven't given it a lot of thought. I'm not lying to you guys. I mean, I've got zero up there done.”
Nagy was in a similar situation last year when he departed Kansas City for Chicago after the Chiefs’ first-round playoff exit.
“I had a great conversation with Coach [Andy] Reid last year at this time and I promised him and told him I'm not going to spend one ounce of energy and time on my interviews throughout the week,” Nagy said. “I'm not doing that to our team. I won't do it. And I held my promise to that. I was prepared months prior and used my time there.
“Vic has done a great job. From the talks we've had and me just seeing where he's at and how he's worked, he's just been completely focused. Every time I walk into his office, man, he's grinding. He's got that remote in there and he's just writing stuff down and grinding with stuff for the game. I appreciate that. We really haven't talked a whole lot about it just because we're so focused in on this game.”
Fangio took over one of the league’s worst defenses when he arrived in Chicago in 2015. Four years later, the Bears are arguably the NFL’s best defensive unit. The Bears led the league in takeaways (36) and interceptions (27) and were third in points off takeaways (107). Chicago set a club record for fewest rushing yards allowed in a 16-game season (1,280) and produced four Pro Bowlers (Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, Akiem Hicks and Kyle Fuller) on the defensive side of the ball.
“Vic deserves to be a candidate for any team that needs a head coach,” Hicks said. “But I’ll say this, ‘I got a lot riding on you, Vic.’ So I don’t think he’s going anywhere. I love playing for that guy and I have a lot of respect for him, and so does the entire defense. I don’t even want to think about the possibility of him leaving, so I’m going to pretend like nothing is going on.”
Fangio has coached a total of 32 years in the NFL, with additional stops in Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis, Carolina and New Orleans.