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Bears fire assistant coach who played at UND

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears have decided to retain defensive coordinator Mel Tucker for 2014, but the team has parted ways with former University of North Dakota player and coach Tim Tibesar, who was the Bears’ linebackers coach.

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Chicago defensive line coach Mike Phair was also fired.

Tucker was informed he would return for his second season under head coach Marc Trestman, who blamed injuries and youth for the team finishing 30th in total defense.

With linebacker Lance Briggs and cornerback Charles Tillman out with injuries for more than half of the 2013 season, Trestman said there was a clear dropoff. The defense was also thinned at defensive tackle by injuries, including franchise free agent Henry Melton.

“Our team evaluation remains ongoing,” Trestman said. “We believe Mel is the right person to lead our defensive unit. He fully understands where we need to improve, has the skill set and leadership to oversee the changes that need to be made and to execute our plan to get the results we know are necessary.”

Tibesar has had coaching stints at UND, Kansas State and Purdue. He was also Trestman’s defensive coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.