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Phil Emery seen as favorite for Bears’ GM job

Phil Emery

Phil Emery

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Updated: February 22, 2012 8:08AM



The Bears wrapped up their fifth interview in five days Friday with general- manager candidates.

And they felt strongly enough about the pool that they won’t expand it.

So Jason Licht of the New England Patriots, Jimmy Raye of the San Diego Chargers, Marc Ross of the New York Giants, Tim Ruskell of the Bears or Phil Emery of the Kansas City Chiefs will replace Jerry Angelo.

If the hunches of three league sources are correct, Emery is the leader in the clubhouse.

Emery is the Chiefs’ college scouting director, and he served in the same capacity under Ruskell in Atlanta. Before that, Emery worked as an area scout for the Bears from 1998 to 2004.

He’s considered a “grinder,” a college scout who’s on the road constantly, searching for the next wave of NFL stars.

Emery’s appeal, one source said, might be that his profile is similar to Ted Thompson, the respected general manager of the Green Bay Packers. Like Thompson, Emery has a background deeply rooted on the college side, and he’s matter-of-fact and low-key. They’re aggressive in traveling to scout college players.

In addition, because of his familiarity with many of the Bears’ scouts, Emery wouldn’t be overhauling the staff, and he’d be able to quickly transition and get them headed in the direction he sets forth.

And, like Thompson, Emery may play information close to the vest, as it relates to the media. Emery, after all, survived the arrival of Scott Pioli, the former Patriots executive who closely worked with coach Bill Belichick to establish that team as a consistent championship contender.

Pioli became the Chiefs’ general manager in 2009, and he dramatically turned over the staff, not only in scouting but other departments.

Last week, the Kansas City Star reported that many staffers — including ousted coach Todd Haley — suspected that Pioli might have bugged the Chiefs’ headquarters.

One source who has worked with Emery highlighted his organization and intelligence.

His approach will have him on the road, so Emery will need a strong director to oversee the scouting department, particularly as it relates to the pro side.

Ruskell, then the assistant general manager of the Falcons, gave Emery his big scouting break when he named him college scouting director.

And with Ruskell believed to be under contract through 2013, Emery might be encouraged to retain the former president and general manager of the Seattle Seahawks.

Either way, Bears president Ted Phillips could process the interviews over the weekend, then decide the next steps early next week to determine if additional interviews are necessary. Another consideration is the fact that the Patriots (Licht) and Giants (Ross) are still alive.

The Bears couldn’t announce either of them as their hire until his season was over. That decision, though, is up to the team. For instance, the Packers allowed Reggie McKenzie to leave the team early and begin his new job as the general manager of the Oakland Raiders.

All five candidates have strong reputations, but the Bears didn’t interview several other strong GM candidates.

Most of them, however, had pro backgrounds.



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