Chicago Bears

Urlacher’s future with Bears remains cloudy

LAKE FOREST – In addition to drawing up plays and hiring a team of assistants, Marc Trestman has spent plenty of time on the phone in the past few weeks.

One of those chats was with Brian Urlacher, who is working out in Arizona.

“[We] had probably a 30- to 40-minute discussion,” Trestman said Thursday at the Walter Payton Center, where he introduced his new coaching staff. “He was great. We talked generally about the team, not specifically about his situation.

“I asked him about the team and our locker room and tried to gather as much information as I can.”

Trying to gather information from Trestman was not so simple.

The Bears’ first-year coach dodged questions about whether he expected Urlacher to return next season. Urlacher, who will turn 35 years old in May, is an unrestricted free agent who is coming off of a difficult season in which he battled knee and hamstring injuries.

Urlacher has said he would like to return to the Bears, but it’s not clear whether the feeling is mutual.

“To talk about where that thing is going would be premature at this time,” Trestman said.

Apparently, Trestman’s assistants also received the memo.

“I’m not going to talk about individual personnel right now,” defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said when asked specifically about how Urlacher might fit into his scheme. “We’re still in the evaluation process, and we’ll go through that. At some point, we’ll cross that bridge, but not today.”

Big project: Trestman said he and his assistant coaches expected to install the Bears’ new offense before organized team activities take place in the late spring. As for now, Jay Cutler and his teammates do not have a playbook to study.

“We had a meet-and-greet, and he went back to Nashville,” Trestman said of his starting quarterback. “We’re allowed to give him a playbook. We don’t have one in place as of yet.

“It’s in the process as we move through the other things that are happening. That’s one of the things we’re doing is putting our playbook together in hard copy.”

Familiar face: As one of two assistant-coach holdovers from the Lovie Smith era, defensive backs coach Jon Hoke is available to Trestman or Tucker if they need advice on a player.

However, Hoke said, the new coaches spent more time talking to those players directly.

“Have they asked, ‘Hey, what about this guy?’ ” Hoke said. “Yeah, at times. But it hasn’t been nearly as much as you think. I think they do a great job of reaching out to [the players].”

Bears bits: Trestman said he was “close” to hiring a wide receivers coach, which represents the final vacancy on his coaching staff. … Trestman also said he met briefly with embattled wide receiver Devin Hester, “but we didn’t get specific on anything.”

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