Pagano has coached 18 seasons in the NFL, including a six-year stint as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. He finished his time in Indianapolis with a 53-43 record (3-3 in the playoffs) after the team fired him following the 2017 season.
The 60-year-old missed 12 games of his first season with the Colts after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Bruce Arians served as interim head coach for the majority of that campaign, with Pagano returning in Week 17 after his cancer went into remission.
Pagano earned the top job with the Colts after leading the Baltimore Ravens' defense for one season in 2011 following three years as Baltimore's secondary coach. He also worked for the then-Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns.
The coach returned to a defensive coordinator role with the Bears in 2019 after working as a consultant for the league in 2018, taking over a unit that finished No. 1 in scoring defense the year prior.
The Bears' defense regressed slightly to finish fourth in 2019 before dropping to 14th this season.
Chicago head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace appear likely to return following an 8-8 season and a wild-card berth, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. Pagano's replacement, therefore, will be the Bears' biggest personnel decision of the offseason.