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Bears GM Phil Emery promotes key evaluators, beefs up scouting staff

Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery watches players during NFL team's football rookie minicamp Lake Forest Ill. Friday May 11

Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery watches players during the NFL team's football rookie minicamp in Lake Forest, Ill., Friday, May 11, 2012. (AP Photo/ Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: July 7, 2012 8:47AM

For Phil Emery, Tuesday had to rank among the highlights since the Bears named him general manager six months ago.

Emery hasn’t exactly eased into his position as a first-time general manager, tackling some daunting issues — most notably Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte’s contract — and green-lighting a bold trade for three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Emery unveiled his player personnel staff, and, interestingly, he didn’t overhaul Jerry Angelo’s handpicked staff as others in his position might’ve been inclined to do. That could be because he worked with many of those scouts when he was one himself, working the college side from 1998 to 2004 before taking over as college scouting director for the Atlanta Falcons. Another reason is the Bears also boasted quality scouts, many of whom could’ve easily landed jobs elsewhere.

Upon taking the job, Emery hinted at beefing up his scouting staff, which was among the smallest in the league.

Last season, not including interns, the Bears’ personnel department had 13 members. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers and Falcons, for instance, had 15 members, and the New Orleans Saints had 17.

Now the Bears have 19 scouts, including Emery.

“Our personnel department is a team of evaluators with a wide and diverse background,” Emery said in a statement. “Our scouts, coaches and support personnel will work together to shape a roster in an effort to win championships.

“This diversity of backgrounds greatly enhances our collective efforts in the evaluation of prospective players’ football abilities, as well as the players’ fit for our scheme, locker room, team and community.”

Bears ownership approved the addition of six full-time staffers.

But Emery sent an important message by filling the college and pro director positions from within. Emery could’ve tapped someone he worked with in Kansas City or Atlanta, but he instead rewarded two men hired by Angelo.

Not the move of an insecure man.

Chris Ballard and Marty Barrett have 26 combined seasons with the Bears, and they’ve apparently shown plenty of professionalism as they made the transition from Angelo to Emery during an active offseason in terms of free agency and the draft.

In announcing the move, Emery said Ballard and Barrett were selected because of their skill as “communicators and evaluators.”

Other holdover scouts also were elevated, and Emery hired seven new scouts and assistants.

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