San JosŤ Mercury

Bears assistant on 49ers' list
February 02, 2003

By Dennis Georgatos
Mercury News

General Manager Terry Donahue received permission Saturday to interview Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache for the 49ers' head-coaching job.

Blache, 53, is expected to meet Monday with Donahue, who has been conducting the two-week-old search out of his Newport Beach-area home.

Blache will become the fifth NFL assistant interviewed for the job, which has been vacant since Steve Mariucci was fired Jan. 15.

Three defensive coordinators, Jim Mora of the 49ers, Ted Cottrell of the New York Jets and Romeo Crennel of the New England Patriots, remain under consideration after interviewing with Donahue.

A year ago, Blache's defense allowed the fewest point in the league, helping the Bears to a 13-3 record and a division title. But Chicago, hit hard by injuries, endured a 4-12 collapse this season. The Bears' defense wound up ranked 25th, 11 spots lower than the 49ers' unit.

Blache's defensive scheme also had a hand in Terrell Owens' record 20-catch game in the 49ers' 17-0 win over the Bears on Dec. 17, 2000.

The game had been billed as Jerry Rice's farewell performance for the 49ers, and Mariucci and quarterback Jeff Garcia have said that the Bears' preoccupation with covering Rice was a factor in the number of passes to Owens.

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