Bears' Chris Tabor to become Panthers' special teams coordinator

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Bears' Chris Tabor departs for Carolina Panthers originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The first big departure from the Bears' coaching staff was made official just hours after Matt Eberflus accepted the head coaching job in Chicago.

And it's a significant loss.

Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, who helped solidify a unit that struggled for years before his arrival, agreed to a contract with the Carolina Panthers Thursday. Tabor interviewed with the Panthers last week.

Tabor spent four seasons with the Bears, joining former head coach Matt Nagy's staff when he was hired in 2018. The special teams unit progressively improved during that stretch and put together its best season in 2021. Tabor had a returner earn All-Pro honors in every season he was in Chicago (Tarik Cohen in 2018, Cordarrelle Patterson in 2019 and 2020, and Jakeem Grant in 2021).

MORE: Inside Chris Tabor's one game as Bears head coach

Tabor also helped solidify a kicking situation that was in shambles in 2018 when Cody Parkey struggled and notoriously missed a game-winning field goal in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Tabor, who worked with Parkey in Cleveland, was one of the reasons why the kicker was in Chicago, but he also helped fix the situation with Eddy Pinerio in 2019 and eventually Cairo Santos, who has been one of the best kickers in the league the last two seasons.

Tabor also served as the Bears' interim head coach for one game during the 2021 season when Matt Nagy was out with COVID-19. The Bears lost that game, 33-22, to the San Francisco 49ers.