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The Sitdown: Phil Emery



Chicago Bears' general manager Phil Emery talks about free agents defensive end Lamarr Houstsafety Ryan Mundy after they were signed

Chicago Bears' general manager Phil Emery talks about free agents, defensive end Lamarr Houston and safety Ryan Mundy, after they were signed during an NFL football news conference Wednesday, March 12, 2014, in Lake Forest, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Updated: June 5, 2014 6:19AM

My wife has an incredible passion for art. I love the use of her color.

How artists look at life and the lens that they look at, it really helps you gain an appreciation for the uniqueness of each individual person and how that uniqueness makes us all stronger.

It’s brought us together in numerous ways.

It’s been a joint effort between my wife and I, and I went through a lot of [eyeglass] frames before we felt comfortable.

I have those black Ford rims, which I enjoyed.

They’re stylish? Is that right?

I got to see [scouting] from all angles. I was just fascinated in that. I always felt that was the best blend to be involved in athletics because it involved the evaluation of a player’s movements. And as a strength coach and as a position coach, I always found that to be the most critical part of the evaluation. It’s what can this player do.

When I first got into coaching back at Central Michigan, scouting back then was much different in that there wasn’t much spotlight put on it. There were these mysterious guys that drove across the country looking at athletes.

I would just start talking to them and how they did their job.

It was fascinating to me.

Long term, that’s really where I wanted to go.

As far as what I would consider a true [first] job, where you have to be at work at a certain time and you had an eight-hour shift, [it] was as a dishwasher. I bussed dishes at a restaurant in Dearborn, Michigan. My mom was responsible for getting that job for me because she was a waitress for over 20 years.

I got to experience some of the things my folks experienced in life in terms of grinding it out every day to provide for their family and what that sacrifice meant.

[I was a bouncer at] one of the busier nightclubs in Michigan [during college]. We held about 1,200 people.

We were a country bar for a little while.

The busiest nights were Tuesdays because that was ladies’ night.

There was a lot of action. When you survive a lot of action, you start to feel a little invincible. One night, we had to eject a patron, and in doing so it was a little rough outside the main door. All of a sudden, I heard someone say, ‘Look out! He’s going to shoot you.’ I turned around, and this guy clicked a gun probably I would say five yards away. You heard the audible click. The guy just looked at us when he realized the gun didn’t fire and just started running.

It was one of those heart-stopping moments.

I always take a little bit of time just to take a long drive to get away and just clear my head before the new season starts. The last two years I’ve done it to follow a folk singer across the upper Midwest.

Gillian Welch is my favorite.

Last year, we got to spend some real good quality time together as a family. We went on vacation together for the first time in a long time.

I have two daughters in Kristine and Leigh Anne who own a business along with my wife [Beth] called The Disco Dolls [in Florida]. Kristine is a hair designer, Leigh Anne designs clothes and my wife is the painter of the group.

Kristine and Leigh Anne are new to my family. They’re sisters. My wife met Leigh Anne through school. My wife went back to school and got her second degree in art, and that’s where she met Leigh Anne. They became friends.

They’re a couple of ladies who needed some older folks or mentors in their life they could depend on, trust and grow close to, and they’re a big part of our family now. It’s been a great thing for us in terms of having a bigger family and to share the aspects of life that we’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy and for them to be a big part of it.

With [my daughter] April, she’s had epilepsy since age 6. She’s 29 now. It’s a condition that she’s had to deal with all of her life. Obviously, we’ve had to make adjustments. But it is who she is. She has her own special gifts and brings her own special joys to life and to our life.

The more you understand that that is who that person is and they carry that burden as part of their life, the more you understand other things to pay attention to in terms of what makes that person unique.


Twitter: @adamjahns

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