SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Wooed for what he said was “a crazy two days” by the San Francisco 49ers in January to become their new head coach, Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase said on Thursday he did not know how close he came to getting the job.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” Gase told Chicago media on Thursday. “It’s so in the past right now.”
Gase was a hot head coaching candidate after last season, when he was the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator. But after not getting the Niners gig, which went to in-house candidate and longtime defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, Gase joined fired Broncos coach John Fox in Chicago.
The Bears have the 20th-ranked total offense in the NFL.
“I’m excited that I was able to come here,” Gase said. “This is where I wanted to be. I feel like this is where I was meant to be – working with this group on offense, being with Coach Fox. So this has been a great spot for me.”
The Niners offense, under promoted quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst, is No. 32 in the 32-team NFL.
Many saw Gase, who had worked with Peyton Manning in Denver, having a positive effect on Colin Kaepernick had he come to Santa Clara. Kaepernick, though, lost the starting job to Blaine Gabbert, was placed on season-ending injured reserve and underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Kaepernick’s future with the 49ers is in question.
Gase thought it was good for him to go through the hiring process with the Niners.
“That whole experience was great for me,” Gase said. “It was a crazy two days and unfortunately we [the Broncos] lost the first round of the playoffs. Any time you get a chance to do something like that, it’s a great experience.”
Tomsula was asked about facing Gase and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, the former 49ers defensive coordinator who was also passed over in favor of Tomsula, and if he could recognize their respective schemes.
“Yeah, there’s changes to the personnel that they have,” Tomsula said. “You see those things. But, two really good football coaches and sound. The schematics and things, you see them change to the people that they have and those kinds of things. They are well-coached.”
And as far as Gase is concerned, there is not extra motivation to beat a team that eschewed him for their top job.
“Any time you’re playing in just a game, you want to win,” Gase said. “So I know when we played Denver, that’s just as big as what this game is for us. As a group, we’re trying to win this week, and it just happens to be the 49ers.”