Chicago Bears interview with Tom Clements could be delayed if Packers go on Super Bowl run

Tom Lynn

The Green Bay Packers have granted the Chicago Bears permission to interview offensive coordinator Tom Clements for Chicago's head coaching job, but the Packers have the right to delay the interview until their season is finished. Will they do it?

The Chicago Bears have been interested in talking to current Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements for years, but they may have to wait even longer than expected to finally get that opportunity. The Packers recently granted the Bears permission to interview Clements for the head coaching position in Chicago, but Kevin Seifert of ESPN notes that Green Bay has the right to delay the interview until the season is over.

It wouldn't be the first time the Packers put obstacles in the way of a conversation between the Bears and Clements. In 2010, Chicago asked for permission to interview Clements (then the team's quarterbacks coach) for the offensive coordinator job, and the Packers flat-out denied the request. This time around, they could seek to delay the interview and force the Bears to look at other candidates first.

The NFL has created a set of rules designed to protect playoff teams with in-demand assistants from tampering, and the policy creates a very short window for teams like the Bears to strike:

"If the employer club elects to grant permission to the inquiring club, the one (1) interview between the inquiring club and the assistant coach must be conducted at any location acceptable to the employer club and at a time that is convenient for the employer club. ... For assistant coaches of clubs that participate in a Wild Card game and advance to the Divisional Playoffs, interviews must be conducted after the Wild Card games and prior to the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games."

If the Packers win their Wild Card game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and then choose to delay Clements' interview, the Bears would have to wait until the season is over for Green Bay.

Clements is in his 16th season as an NFL coach. He was promoted to his position as Packers offensive coordinator on Feb. 2, 2012, and prior to that worked as Green Bay's quarterbacks coach from 2006 to 2011.

Clements has also worked for the Buffalo Bills (2004-05), Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-04), Kansas City Chiefs (2000) and New Orleans Saints (1997-99).

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