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Dave Toub signs two-year extension with Bears

CHICAGO BEARS COACHES pictures provided by Chicago Bears 5-30--08

CHICAGO BEARS COACHES, pictures provided by the Chicago Bears 5-30--08

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Updated: February 19, 2012 8:23AM

Although free agency is months away, the Bears re-signed one of their top employees with an expiring contract.

Special-teams coordinator Dave Toub, fresh off an interview for the Miami Dolphins’ head-coaching ­vacancy, signed a two-year extension Tuesday.

Given his soaring stock, Toub’s quick decision is an encouraging sign for coach Lovie Smith and the Bears as they enter a critical period. The Bears are replacing longtime general manager Jerry Angelo, and they interviewed their second candidate, San Diego Chargers player personnel director Jimmy Raye.

The Bears’ brass believes the team can contend for a Super Bowl in 2012, and Toub’s signature reinforces that notion.

“We’re going to win,” Toub said. “We have enough guys. We just need to keep as much continuity as we can. This is just one part of it. It’s a small part of it. I believe in Lovie Smith and what he’s trying to get done here. We’ve been knocking on the door.”

Toub pointed to the 2011 season, when the Bears were 7-3 and one of the league’s hottest teams.

“You don’t want to make excuses,’’ Toub said, ‘‘but we got into that losing streak, and that killed us. This team is close. Lovie talks about it all the time, and I’m a believer.”

Toub is under contract through 2013, same as Smith.

And while he aspires to become a head coach, Toub said he wouldn’t want to be a special-teams coordinator for anyone else on any other team.

“Why would I want to go someplace and try to establish something that’s already established, working for a guy like Lovie and a first-class organization like the Bears and the McCaskey family?” Toub said. “They’ve treated me great. To be at one place 10 years is rare in the NFL.’’

Toub’s new deal puts him among the highest-paid special-teams coordinators.

His gift is turning unheralded players into Pro Bowl special-teamers.

Under his watch, Corey Graham, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, Robbie Gould and Brendon Ayanbadejo have earned trips to Hawaii. Of those players, Hester is a second-round selection, and Graham and Knox were taken in the fifth round. Gould and Ayanbadejo were undrafted.

Toub’s unit had a standout 2011 season, finishing third in a ranking system by the Dallas Morning News. His unit has ranked in the top third of the league for the last eight seasons, and it was No. 1 in 2006 and 2007.

As for his interview with the Dolphins, Toub was grateful for the opportunity.

“You dream about it, but it kind of sunk in this time,” Toub said. “When the season was over, I got in front of my computer, and I put things together. ‘Hey, this is my shot.’

“I know next time I go, I’ll be that much more prepared. You don’t believe it until something like that happens.

“I’m very fortunate and appreciative to [Dolphins general manager] Jeff Ireland and [owner] Stephen Ross, that they recognized my abilities enough to bring me in.”

After Jason Licht of the New England Patriots interviewed Monday, Raye visited Halas Hall on Tuesday. Marc Ross of the New York Giants, Phil Emery of the Kansas City Chiefs and Bears player personnel director Tim Ruskell also will interview this week.

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