6:39 PM CST, January 11, 2013
Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy looks at current Bears candidate Marc Trestman and sees a replay of his own career path.
"(Trestman) went as an assistant in the NFL up to Canada in Montreal. So did I," the Chicago native recalled Friday. "He has been there five years. So was I. He went to three Grey Cups. So did we. He won two of them. So did we. Now five years later, he is being given a few opportunities in the NFL. So there is a tremendous parallel in that sense, anyway."
Levy, who coached the Bills to four straight Super Bowls (1990-93), coached the Alouettes from 1973-77. In 1978, Levy was hired to coach the Chiefs.
Speculation Trestman is the leading candidate to replace Lovie Smith jumped Friday when former University of Miami and Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson tweeted: "Looks like 2 of my guys getting NFL jobs … Chud Cleveland and my QB coach at U Trestman to Chicago."
Rob Chudzinski was named the Browns coach Friday.
Levy went out of his way to boost Trestman's candidacy.
"I knew about him when he coached in the (NFL) and we may have said hello a time or two at league meetings. He was a great offensive coordinator (with the Raiders, Cardinals, 49ers and Browns).
"Strangely enough, after he got the job in Montreal five years ago, he called me because he knew I had been in a similar situation. He asked me to come over as a guest to their training camp and I spent about a week with him, talked to the players a little and observed him.
"I thought, boy, this guy has it. Very smart. Works well with others in the organization. Knows where his strengths lie and knows where he needs the right assistants. He teaches well, his players buy in. When I saw his name on the (Bears) list, I thought … there are two guys (that stuck out), he and Tom Clements, to be honest with you."
Levy, 87, said he and Trestman have maintained a cordial relationship. Trestman turns 57 next Tuesday.
"We've talked on the phone now and then," Levy said. "Recently he told me things were happening. If he is picked, they have got the right guy. He'll put together the right staff."
Levy, who had Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly in Buffalo, knows how important it will be for the Bears to get Jay Cutler refined at that position.
"I hired the right coach for the quarterbacks in Ted Marchibroda, that's for sure," Levy said. "I've always had a high regard, by the way, for Cutler. I realize there have been some ups and downs. But Marc is just the right guy for him. He teaches well and he has just the right way to communicate with players."
Levy has been on both ends of a coaching search as a general manager and as an ambitious assistant coach. Levy is watching the Bears coaching search by Phil Emery with great interest.
"It almost blows my mind that he is interviewing so many," he said. "But maybe he wants to get input from a lot of people … just to get their insights on the game. Just to get information, even though he may have had only three or four on the radar screen, really, to be the head coach."
Obviously, as far as Levy is concerned, the Bears search might as well end with Trestman.
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