Everybody can sense the end is near for Matt Nagy. Usually when that is the case for a head coach, it’s the same for his staff as well. That is why it should never be a surprise when assistant might take opportunities to work elsewhere. Why stick around on a sinking ship, right? It appears one has already decided to take that exit ramp in the former of assistant offensive line coach Donovan Raiola.
A former journey player and brother to the former Lions standout center, Dominic, the man joined the Bears staff in 2018 and has worked with several of their young blockers since. Both with Harry Hiestand and then Juan Castillo. Now it appears an opportunity has come up according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Enough to where Raiola won’t be finishing out the season with the team.
“The Chicago Bears have a coaching change coming — but not the one people have talked about endlessly for the last few weeks.
Assistant offensive line coach Donovan Raiola is expected to be named the offensive line coach at Nebraska, according to an NFL source and a report by the Lincoln Journal Star. With college recruiting season in full swing, he is expected to leave the Bears soon for Lincoln, Neb. — likely before the end of the week.”
On the one hand, this is really cool.
Getting a chance to be in charge of the offensive line for the first time is unquestionably a big opportunity for Raiola. At a storied college program like Nebraska too. At the same time, his decision to leave almost immediately shows where the priorities are. He has to think about his own future and that of his family. There is little point in sticking around a 4-8 team with a head coach on borrowed time.
It is fair to wonder if another assistant or two might try the same thing in the coming weeks. Either way, the Chicago Bears look and feel like a team on the cusp of major changes. Another loss to the Packers on Sunday should reinforce that even further. Will Nagy survive to the end of the year? Some still have doubts about that. Regardless, discussions about who his replacement will be remains ongoing.