Marc Trestman's had a career to celebrate in Canada, including this 2010 East Final win.It wouldn't be a CFL offseason without rumours that Montreal Alouettes' head coach Marc Trestman is about to get a big job, as we've seen him linked to the Miami Hurricanes, the Minnesota Golden Gophers and a variety of NFL positions (including the Colts' gig last year) in the past. Still, Ian Rapoport's NFL Network report that the Chicago Bears will interview Trestman for their head coaching job is worth serious consideration; Rapoport's a well-connected reporter with a strong track record, and there's reason to believe that Bears' general manager Phil Emery is conducting a wide search and willing to think outside the box. An interview doesn't mean Trestman will get the job, of course, especially as other reported candidates include Broncos' offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Packers' offensive coordinator Tom Clements (a former CFL star!), names who are currently more well-known in NFL circles. Still, it does mean that Alouettes' fans can't rest easy yet, especially considering that Rapoport has also added NFL teams are interested in Trestman as an offensive coordinator.
There was some discussion that the four-year extension Trestman signed this past summer might stave off departure talk, but as noted then, every contract has outs. When you have the resources of an NFL team (or a big NCAA team, for that matter), it's easy to offer a coach a contract that would make any CFL buyout simple. Some may wonder if Trestman would go, but that's hardly a debate if the Bears actually offer him the head-coaching job; the NFL has such a higher profile and can afford to pay so much more that there's little debate he'd take the job if it's offered. There is a debate about whether he'd leave a good CFL job for an NFL offensive coordinator gig, though; the pay there is probably somewhat similar, and there would be much less control than he has in Montreal, but it could provide an easier path to becoming an NFL head coach if that's what he wants. Either way, these rumours should be taken seriously by CFL fans.
Would Trestman be a good fit for the Bears? From this corner, absolutely. He's obviously had a tremendous career up here, including becoming the first coach since the legendary Don Matthews to win back-to-back Grey Cups (in 2009 and 2010) and building the Alouettes into a perennial championship contender (with the help of general manager Jim Popp, who's attracted southern interest of his own in the past and may do so again given the amount of front office turnover in the NFL this year). He's also played a huge role in the late-career resurgence of Anthony Calvillo, who became professional football's leading passer in 2011. Trestman's offence has flourished despite significant personnel losses, and he's gotten the most out of the talent he's had. It's also worth noting that many coaches who have been successful south of the border got their start in the CFL, including Mike Riley, Marv Levy and Bud Grant.
It's what Trestman's done south of the border that may give him even more credence in the eyes of the NFL, though; he's worked with eight different NFL teams, mostly as a quarterback coach, and has found superb success with such pivots as Vinny Testaverde, Bernie Kosar, Rich Gannon, Jake Plummer and Scott Mitchell. His most impressive recent south-of-the-border stints include serving as the Oakland Raiders' offensive coordinator in 2002, where they led the league in total offensive yards, went to the Super Bowl and had Gannon win NFL MVP, and working as the North Carolina State Wolfpack's offensive coordinator from 2005-06 (where he helped convince a player named Russell Wilson, who you might have heard of, to play football as well as baseball). The Bears have a talented, but often inconsistent quarterback, Jay Cutler; Trestman might well help elevate him from good to great.
However, that doesn't mean the Bears are going to hire Trestman. The much more typical path for hiring head coaches is picking guys who are currently NFL offensive or defensive coordinators or choosing those who have previously been NFL head coaches. Although Trestman has plenty of NFL experience, many would see his selection as off-the-board thanks to his current job being in Canada. (That would add impetus for him to take another job as an NFL offensive coordinator if he's offered one, but as mentioned above, it's unclear if he'd actually want to do that; it would certainly improve his prospects of eventually landing an NFL head job, but it might be a less ideal job than the one he currently holds.) That doesn't the Trestman-to-the-Bears story can be ruled out, but it does mean this may prove to be another report of Trestman's potential departure that winds up going nowhere. Until they hire someone else, though, many Alouettes' fans are going to be a bit nervous.