(Ro - I guess I`m not a real fan of the Riders!)
Michael Sinclair had every intention of honouring his contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders until receiving a phone call from the Chicago Bears.
That phone call came shortly after the Bears hired Marc Trestman, who had been the Montreal Alouettes' head coach, as the NFL team's field boss on Wednesday. Trestman promptly reached out to Sinclair, who had spent the past five seasons as the defensive line coach with the Alou-ettes. Sinclair was hired by Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin as defensive line coach and assistant head coach on Dec. 14.
Sinclair, who resigned from the Alouettes after the 2012 season, said Sunday he kept the Roughriders in the loop regarding his latest coaching opportunity. On Friday, the Bears announced that Sinclair had been hired as their assistant defensive line coach.
"I knew that coaching the Bears would be an opportunity of a lifetime,'' Sinclair said. "It wasn't me going AWOL or doing my own thing then telling them what I did. It was handled with integrity. The speed at which it happened is what may have caused some ripples. Still, it was a dream job.''
Sinclair, 44, stressed that he was contacted by the Bears after Trestman had been hired.
"If anyone called about a dream job, I think you would have to look at it,'' Sinclair said. "I'm humbled by the whole experience. I called Corey and I thanked him and they were more than gracious and kind to me. I really appreciate Rider Nation for the short time that I was there. I can say they are a first-class organization and I appreciate it.''
Sinclair said he kept working with the Riders and Chamblin through the interview process and until being hired by the Bears.
"Corey and I were talking about personnel and schemes because the interview wasn't a sure thing,'' Sinclair said. "I was still on the Riders staff and I was all in for the Rider Nation.''
Sinclair had developed a relationship with Trestman though their five seasons together with the Alouettes. Sinclair resigned with two years remaining on his contract because he felt it was time to move on.
"I'm sure Marc and I have a good relationship,'' Sinclair said with a laugh. "I don't think Marc would hire his enemies.''
Sinclair has strong ties to the NFL as a player. Sinclair spent 11 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks as a defensive end. He recorded 73.5 sacks and appeared in three consecutive Pro Bowls (1996, 1997 and 1998). He also led the NFL with 16.5 sacks in 1998. He joined Montreal's coaching staff after coaching stints in NFL Europe.
"I'm very grateful to the CFL and to the Alouettes because it gave me an opportunity to work on my skill set as a coach and my people skills,'' Sinclair said. "I'm indebted to the CFL and I enjoyed it. I was also looking forward to working with the Riders staff, but they under-stood what happened.''