New Orleans RB Pierre Thomas prepped at Thornton Fractional South (Lansing, Ill.) HS and then played at Illinois from 2003-06.
New Orleans T Zach Strief played at Northwestern from 2002-05.
Bears RB Matt Forte prepped at Slidell HS and starred at Tulane from 2004-07.
Saints TE Benjamin Watson and Bears CB Tim Jennings were college teammates at the University of Georgia.
New Orleans NT John Jenkins and Bears DE Cornelius Washington were also teammates for the Bulldogs and played on the same defensive line.
Saints CB Keenan Lewis and Chicago DT Stephen Paea were teammates at Oregon State.
Bears TJermon Bushrod was a fourth round draft pick of the Saints in 2007 and played for the club for six seasons, where he was selected to two Pro Bowls.
New Orleans Coach Sean Payton is a Naperville, Illinois native and played QB at Naperville Central HS. He earned a communications degree from Eastern Illinois, posting 10,665 passing yards as a three-time AP All-American. Payton played in the Arena Football League with the Chicago Bruisers and briefly with the Bears in 1987. He was inducted into the Eastern Illinois Hall of Fame and has his number retired. He also tutored quarterbacks for a year at the University of Illinois Payton has a sister and niece who live in Skokie.
New Orleans Special teams coordinator Greg McMahon is an Eastern Illinois graduate who served on the coaching staff in Charleston for one year and later spent 13 years on the staff at the University of Illinois working with special teams, tight ends, and wide receivers.
Chicago Coach Marc Trestman assisted Payton in training camp in 2007.
Bears Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer spent five seasons with the Saints, serving as the running backs coach (2008) and offensive line/running game coach (2009-12).
Chicago Defensive CoordinatorMel Tucker served as the defensive backs coach at LSU in 2000.
Bears Defensive Quality Control Coach Chris Harris starred at the University of Louisiana-Monroe where he ranked fourth in career tackles and third in career interceptions.