LAKE FOREST, Ill. — For a second time during the 2023 regular season, a change is coming to the Bears’ coaching staff.
This time, it’s the firing of their running backs coach.
The Bears have let go of David Walker after a year-and-a-half with the team, head coach Matt Ebeflus confirmed at his news conference on Wednesday.
It comes ahead of the team’s Week 9 game against the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday at Noon. Omar Young, who has worked with the wide receivers and quarterbacks this season, will take over Walker’s duties with the running backs.
“As a head coach, we are building a program and have standards to uphold to as a staff and organization both on and off the field,” said Eberflus, who said he had the support of team president and CEO Kevin Warren, general manager Ryan Poles, and ownership to fire Walker. “Those standards were not met.”
This move occurred a month and a half after defensive coordinator Alan Williams abruptly resigned on September 20. Per a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, he left the team, in part, due to “inappropriate activity.”
Ebeflus said there is “absolutely not” a culture problem with his coaching staff as the team currently sits 2-6 on the 2022 season.
“The culture in our building is outstanding. The guys work hard every single day. The relationship piece is there. We care about each other and we’re working diligently to get this thing turned,” said Eberflus. “We’re 2-2 in the last two games. One game was real close, we had a chance at that one, and we really feel we are turning the corner there and we’re excited for this week.
“But to answer your question, our culture is awesome.”
Walker joined the Bears’ coaching staff shortly after the hiring of head coach Matt Eberflus in February 2022. This came after he was out of the NFL for a few years following a stint as the Lions’ running backs coach from 2016-2018 under head coaches Jim Caldwell and Matt Patricia.
A running back himself at Syracuse, Walker started his coaching career in high school in Miami in 1994 before rejoining his alma mater as a running backs coach from 2005-2003. He then served in that same position at Pittsburgh from 2004 through 2010 before joining Caldwell’s Indianapolis Colts staff in 2011.
Fired after the 2014 season with Chuck Pagano as the head coach, Walker had one year as the offensive coordinator for Carmel (IN) High School before joining the Lions.