Matt Eberflus addresses why Bears fired David Walker, apparent culture issues with staff

Matt Eberflus addresses why Bears fired David Walker, apparent culture issues with staff originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- On a day that should have been about the arrival of new defensive end Montez Sweat, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus took the podium on Wednesday at Halas Hall and announced the firing of running backs coach David Walker.

"So David Walker, with the support from [general manager Ryan Poles], [CEO Kevin Warren] and ownership, we have made the decision this morning that our running backs coach, Coach Walker, has been relieved of his duties," Eberflus said. "As the head coach, we are building a program and have standards to uphold as a staff and organization both on and off the field, and those standards were not met."

Walker is the second member of Eberflus' coaching staff to depart since the start of the season. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned for "personal reasons," but subsequent reporting by ESPN's Adam Schefter noted that Williams' departure was due to unacceptable work behavior that was "non criminal."

Sources confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago that the Bears dismissed Walker for human resource issues. The Athletic was the first to report the news.

When Eberflus was hired as head coach, he envisioned himself as a CEO. With two coaches he evaluated and vetted now leaving for not meeting the standard, the buck stops with Eberflus.

“Like I said, it’s disappointing from my vantage point," Eberflus said of Walker's dismissal. "But we have a standard to uphold to. When that standard is not met, we act. We act accordingly, and that’s what we did today.

“I would say the responsibility is there because I’m the head football coach," Eberflus said later when asked what culpability he has in the turbulent coaching issues. "I would also say that the standard has to be met, right? And when it’s not met, you make a decision. We did that.”

When asked if he felt he misevaluated Walker and Williams, Eberflus evaded.

"We take pride in that," Eberflus said of the vetting. "Actions are actions and we got to take action for that.”

Eberflus said there were no signs of these issues with Walker when he was hired and felt they did the right thing when hiring him for the staff.

"I would just say when you look at things, you’ve got to make sure you look at everything, I think we did that," Eberflus said. "I know we did that. Again, this is a process where something happened, and we're taking action on it. And I’m actually … how we all came together to do it, it was good."

Eberflus prides himself on the culture he is creating in Chicago. Despite the staff turmoil and mis-evaluation of Walker and Williams, Eberflus maintains the culture is rock solid.

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not," Eberflus said when asked if the Bears have a culture problem. "The culture in our building is outstanding. The guys work hard every single day. The relationship piece is there. We care about each other. We’re working diligently to get this thing turned.

"Our culture is awesome.”

Throughout the 11-minute press conference, Eberflus kept pointing to the Bears' 2-2 record over the previous four weeks as proof that things are on the right track despite the apparent dysfunction.

When pressed on if he felt this was a good day for the organization, Eberflus admitted he was disheartened by the issues that led to Walker's dismissal.

"We’re all disappointed. It’s never good when this has to happen. Certainly a disappointment," Eberflus said. "But I do know this, adversity does make you stronger in your personal life, in your team life, it does make you stronger. It’s just how you come through it. It’s how you respond to it."

Despite the issues with Walker, Eberflus is adamant that he has not lost the trust of his players or staff.

“I think the trust is stronger because we take action," Eberflus said. "That’s what it is. It’s called having accountability and you move forward. Player, coach, staff member. Doesn’t matter.:

Omar Young will take over Walker's role as running backs coach as the Bears prepare to face the New Orleans Saints in Week 9.

Eberflus left the podium Wednesday having fielded just two questions about Bears trade deadline acquisition Montez Sweat and zero about the status of quarterback Justin Fields or the future of cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

That tells you everything you need to know about the status of the operation Eberflus is leading.

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