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Bears coaching search speeds toward final phase

Phil Emery might conclude his search for new coach sooner than later perhaps time for East-West Shrine Game next Saturday.

Phil Emery might conclude his search for a new coach sooner than later, perhaps in time for the East-West Shrine Game next Saturday. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 11, 2013 7:20PM

The Bears extensive search for a head coach will continue into the weekend but could be nearing the end of the initial phase.

Bears general manager Phil Emery is scheduled to interview five candidates by Sunday, and it’s believed he’ll quickly move to the next stage.

In his press conference two days after the season ended, Emery said he would approach this process with “a sense of urgency.”

He noted that he would like to stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” with his head coach during the All-Star games, mentioning the East-West Shrine game, which takes place next weekend. While that time frame may be aggressive, his search could end sooner than later. There are currently five NFL head coach vacancies: the Bears, the Arizona Cardinals, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers.

“If we have a clear-cut candidate, one, two or three that we would narrow down to finalists,” Emery said at the time.

Emery said he would handle the initial interviews on his own then have the finalists meet with chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips.

“After we’re at the point where we feel we have good quality candidates to select two or three as finalists, we will either have them come to us or go them so we have an opportunity for them to talk to George or to talk to Ted and that George and Ted can interact with them and get a feel for them,” Emery said. “At the end, the final decision will be mine.”

Emery is scheduled to speak to offensive coordinator Rick Dennison in Houston today then visit with Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in Atlanta on Saturday. The Seahawks are preparing to play the Falcons Sunday in Atlanta, which is why Emery must travel there. While in Atlanta, Emery is expected to visit with Minnesota Vikings assistants Mike Singletary and Mike Preifer as well.

On Sunday, Emery is scheduled to meet with Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in Indianapolis.

So the finalist interviews are likely to commence early next week.

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