USC football: Chicago Bears reportedly contact Jeremy Bates

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Jeremy Bates, USC’s quarterbacks coach and play-caller, declined during the season to discuss a possible return to the NFL, where he coached for seven seasons before joining the Trojans staff in January 2009.

But Bates, as expected, is reportedly being pursued to return to the pros.

ESPN reported that the Chicago Bears have contacted Bates, who coached Bears quarterback Jay Cutler with the Denver Broncos.

Bates also has been regarded as a candidate to rejoin Mike Shanahan, the former Broncos coach who has been hired to replace Jim Zorn with the Washington Redskins.

Neither Bates nor USC Coach Pete Carroll could be reached for comment.

--Gary Klein