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Who is Mike Furrey? A Look at the New Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Coach

The Chicago Bears have named former NFL wide receiver Mike Furrey as their new wide receivers coach, so who is Mike Furrey and what does he bring to the table?

 

It was announced earlier today that the Chicago Bears hired Mike Furrey as their new wide receiver’s coach. I reported the move on Friday afternoon, and it was later confirmed by the Bears’ official Twitter account just before five o’clock in the evening.

This appears to be a great hire for Matt Nagy, as Furrey has a pretty solid resume that should help him with his first NFL coaching job in Chicago. Here’s some background on the newest addition to Matt Nagy’s staff.

Playing Career

Mike Furrey has had a career that will relate to Matt Nagy, and a reason why the two have a relationship as Furrey played one year at Ohio State before transferring to the University of Northern Iowa. He went undrafted in the 2000 NFL draft and was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts, but was cut at the end of training camp. 

Looking for a way to continue playing football, he got an opportunity to join the Las Vegas Outlaws in the now-defunct XFL. In his one year in the XFL (The only year the XFL existed) he had just 18 catches for 243 yards and one touchdown. After the league was killed, he found an opportunity to play for the New York Dragons of the Arena Football League. He excelled with the Dragons, he played on both sides of the field as a wide receiver and a free safety. It may have helped that he had at the time, future Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy throwing him the football. This clearly was a major reason why Furrey was hired quickly.

After dominating in the AFL, the St. Louis Rams decided to give him a chance. He was a great special teams player and had a limited role in the offense his first two seasons. In 2005, the Rams were having trouble with the secondary, and chose to move Furrey to safety. He again adapted well to the change and finished the season with four interceptions, with one taken to the house.

At the end of the season the Ram’s released Furrey. The Detroit Lions decided to sign him and convert him back to wide receiver. He had his best seasons of his career in Detroit. In 2006 Furrey broke the record for most catches by a player (non-rookie) who had zero the previous season, catching 98 passes for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns. The next year he was bumped down the depth chart after the Detroit Lions selected Calvin Johnson with the second overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft. He still still finished the season with 61 catches for 664 yards and one touchdown.

Furrey played one more season with the Lions, but only recorded 18 catches. He was released at the end of the season and signed with the Browns, who converted him back to a free safety and he started two games.

Coaching Career

Furrey took a very unusual path as a coach. He became the head coach of Kentucky Christian University of the NAIA for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. His team’s finished with a combined record of 11-11. After those two years he joined the staff at Marshall University from 2013-2016 as the wide receivers coach. In 2016, he got another chance at being a head coach, this time as as the Limestone Saints (NCAA Division II) head coach. Furrey was just Limestone’s second head coach in their football team’s history. In his first season they went 5-6, and in his second and final season the Saints finished just 4-6. 

Why this Hire?

I am very excited about the hiring of Mike Furrey. Nagy hiring his former favorite target is very cool to see. The two will most likely see eye-to-eye on a lot of things regarding the passing game. Furrey having experience on the other side of the ball will also give him an edge. He will know what to look for in the secondary and teach his wide receivers what the defensive back’s are thinking.  I also view his time as a head coach as something that gives him a big edge. He learned how to lead in his two opportunities as a head coach.

I asked one of his players at Limestone what his opinion of him was, and he told me that he treated everyone of his guys like family and cares about them on and off the field. He also told me that Furrey works hard at everything he does. You need these types of coaches in your locker room.

With him being a successful receiver at multiple levels, and being the leader, he will be much more connected with his players. Nagy is putting together a very impressive coaching staff and I expect to see a big upgrade at the wide receiver position this off-season to help Furrey succeed. 

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