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John Fox 'looking forward to challenge' of leading Bears

John Fox was introduced as the Bears' 15th head coach Monday at Halas Hall.

The Chicago Bears went with experience when they hired John Fox on Friday to help restore the franchise to respectability. On Monday at Halas Hall, Fox was introduced as the franchise's 15th head coach and the first in club history with previous experience as a head coach for another team.

It has been 21 days since the Bears fired general manager Phil Emery, coach Marc Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer the day after their 5-11 campaign mercifully ended. Since then, chairman George McCaskey and team president Ted Phillips have forged a new direction by hiring general manager Ryan Pace and, eight days later, Fox. 

On Monday, Fox said he was "looking forward to the challenge" of coaching the Bears and offered details about the road map he will be using to guide the team to brighter days. Here are some highlights:

On his relationship with Pace:

"I think it’s paramount that relationship, maybe the most important relationship in a NFL building. This is a ‘we’ not ‘me’ profession. That’s true whether it’s upstairs, downstairs or between those lines."

Pace and his wife Stephanie flew out to meet with Fox’s family, and Fox said that both sides got along well.

"This young man (Pace), I don’t care about age. He’s smart, he’s honest, he’s all the things I look for in a guy I want to be in the trenches with. I’m excited about that."

On Jay Cutler:

“I’m looking forward to getting to know him."

Fox said that he and Cutler have exchanged text messages, and Fox said he reminded the quarterback that “this game is only fun when you win, and we will.”

On leaving the Broncos:

“My feelings haven’t changed whatsoever. We parted ways mutually. I’ve got a lot of great friends there. It was a great four-year run. We hugged and moved on. It happens in football. I learned a long time ago it’s OK to look rear-view mirror but not very long because you better stay staring out the windshield and that’s me right now.”

On defensive formations:

"Spending 25 years in this league as a head coach or a defensive coach, I think sometimes maybe on the outside more is made of that than reality. We’re going to put our players in the best position for them to have success and that’s how we’re going to earn their respect moving forward because they know we can help that. Whether that’s a 3-4 or 4-3 has not been determined yet."

On the NFC North:

“The one thing I know is that if you win the division, you go to the playoffs. I think this is the oldest division in football. I understand the rivalries. I understand having supremacy in the division.”

On keeping any current Bears staff:

"I don't know yet. It's a fluid process."

Fox has met with all but two remaining staffers thus far.

On orchestrating turnarounds with the Panthers and Broncos:

“Football is a very combative, physical game. It takes combative, physical people. We’re going to do our best to find players that will train and compete.”

On his leadership style:

“I’m brutally honest. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not afraid or intimidated about telling people the truth.”

On a new special teams coordinator:

“Jeff Rodgers is on the dotted line. He’s upstairs right now, working on making the Chicago Bears better.”

Like Fox, Rodgers joins the Bears after working with the Broncos.

On his age (he turns 60 in February):

“I’m very healthy, I’m very energetic. I stay away from mirrors. I truly feel like I did at 36, when I went to work for Chuck Noll. When that goes away, I’ll go away. I have a great passion for what I do. I try to surround myself with passionate people.”

On the fast turnaround between jobs:

“It has been a whirlwind, but I consider myself a fairly mentally tough individual.”

 Fox added that his children’s enthusiasm for the move has helped him make the transition.

On managing expectations:

“I’m just me. I’m not smart enough to be anyone else."

On having control over the Bears' roster:

"I just know in 1989 we didn’t have all that. To me, I don’t think you need all that in 2015 ... If we have a building full of good evaluators, if we work at it very hard, I’ve been places where we never even had in writing what and who and all that. Typically you come to the same agreement, and I predict that’s the way it’s going to be here moving forward."

On any apprehension about the job:

"We're under attack. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. It’s what we sign up for. It’s why we’re compensated so well for what we do. I explained to my wife one time wondering what time I’m going to be home. I said, ‘honey, I'll get a paper route. I’ll be home a lot, but we got to move a lot.’ I was younger and not as mature when I said that."

On title aspirations:

“That one (Lombardi) trophy is kind of lonely out there in the hallway.”

Fox added that he plans to reach out to Brian Urlacher and Mike Ditka for advice.

"I’ve not talked to Brian in a while. I’ve gathered whatever it was, and our experience has been to reach out. I mean, I’m going to reach out to Mike Ditka. Mike’s a friend I haven’t talked to in a while. Banged into him every once in a while in Florida. But he understands Chicago, at this point, way better than I do. I’d be crazy not to. With ex-players, I think it’s important to build that relationship. ... I just know that Ryan and I are going to reach out (to Urlacher) and spend some time."

On his heart valve surgery in 2013:

“Probably taught me to listen to doctors. Health is important. But my issue was not lifestyle, I didn’t have bypass surgery. I was born with something that they didn’t find until I was 42. ... It's not real easy to say, ‘Today is a great day to go in for open heart surgery.’ And you feel fine. Yeah, it was a little scary … Luckily I was in a good place when it happened. I was back four weeks post-op, came back and actually got on guys in my training room and said, ‘Dude, that’s a sprained ankle. I just had open heart surgery.’ So it gives me a little juice in the locker room.”

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