Popular safety Chris Harris, who played two different stints as a Chicago Bear, will be trading his football cleats for a whistle. He was named to the Bears coaching staff Monday as a defensive quality control coach. Known as a student of the game, Harris gets his coaching start as an entry-level coach who will concentrate on breaking down tape and assisting the Bears staff during practices.
“ I love teaching and I love the game,” Harris stated.“I have a strong passion for the game. I knew by my third or fourth year that’s what I wanted to do when I got finished playing, so I started preparing myself back then to put myself in this position.”
Harris spent eight seasons as an NFL safety for the Bears (2005-06 and 2010-11), Carolina Panthers (2007-09), Detroit Lions (2011) and Jacksonville Jaguars after being selected by Chicago in the sixth round (181st overall) in the 2005 NFL Draft. He recorded 422 tackles, 16 interceptions, 13 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries and 37 passes defensed in 101 games played (88 starts). He was named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press in 2010. Harris started seven career playoff games, tallying 48 tackles, one interception and two forced fumbles.
It was a busy day for the Bears and new head coach Marc Trestman. In addition to Harris’ appointment, Chicago also added Sean Desai (defensive quality control), and Dwayne Stukes (assistant special teams) to their coaching staff.
Desai joins the Bears after spending one season as the running backs/special teams coach at Boston College. Last year the Eagles led the NCAA in punt returns averaging 21.7 yards per return (282 yards and one touchdown on 13 returns). He was the director of football operations at the University of Miami (FL) in 2010 after spending four seasons at Temple (2006-09). Desai served as Temple’s graduate extern for academics in 2006. He went on to serve as the graduate assistant for the Owls defense/special teams before being elevated to special teams coordinator/outside linebackers in 2010. He starting his coaching career at his alma mater Shelton (Conn.) High School, serving as assistant defensive coordinator, defensive backs and wide receivers coach for the freshman squad from 2001-04. Desai earned his doctorate in educational administration at Temple University in May 2008, serving as an adjunct professor at the school in 2009 and 2010, teaching in the master’s and doctoral programs in education administration.
Stukes served on Tampa Bay’s coaching staff for six seasons (2006-11), the last as the Buccaneers special teams coordinator. During the 2011 season, Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth ranked third in the NFL in field goal percentage with a career-high 92.9 percent (16 of 28). Michael Koenen was seventh in the NFL in touchback percentage (58.7, 37 touchbacks of 63 kickoffs) and eighth in net punting average (40.3). The Buccaneers punt coverage unit was eighth in the NFL allowing just 7.4 yards per return and the kickoff coverage unit was ninth allowing 22.8 yards per return. In 2009 and 2010, Stukes was Tampa Bay’s assistant defensive backs coach after serving as special teams quality control coach in 2008. He joined the team as a coaching assistant in 2006, a position he held for two years. He also served as the assistant defensive backs coach for the Berlin Thunder in 2006. Stukes played collegiately at the University of Virginia and was awarded UVA’s Gretchen Savin Macillwaine Football Scholarship, given for outstanding academic achievement. He spent parts of four seasons in the NFL from 2000-03 as a member of the Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers. He also spent time with NFL Europe’s Berlin Thunder (2001-02) and the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush (2004).
Former Montreal (CFL) and Purdue assistant coach Tim Tibesar is reportedly the choice for the vacant LB coach role. Tibesar served as Trestman’s defensive coordinator in 2011, before becoming the defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Purdue this past season.
Extra Points: Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith is expected to sit out the 2013 season after being bypassed for any head coaching vacancy. The Bears owe Smith for the final year on his contract….Meanwhile, former WR coach Darryl Drake was named to the same post with the Arizona Cardinals…Former Bears WR/special teamer Rashied Davis is expected to retire after a seven year NFL career….The Bears inked S Cyhl Quarles (pronounced “Kyle Quarlz”) to a reserve/future contract. The 6-3, 212-pound Quarles was an undrafted rookie free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 out of Wake Forest. He spent parts of the 2012 regular season on the New England Patriots practice squad after being released by the Ravens at the end of the preseason. In 50 career games at Wake Forest, he totaled 239 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.