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Ted Phillips explains why he hired Phil Emery as GM
Bears president Ted Phillips did his due diligence in finding a general manager after Phillips fired Jerry Angelo two days after the 2011 season. Why did he hire Phil Emery?
”What stood out with Phil was the depth of his plan,” Phillips said Monday at Halas Hall. ”[All five candidates who were interviewed] stated kind of a general vision on how to make the Bears a championship team. But he had an added depth of understanding of what it would take on every level. That’s what really stood out.
What was the depth of his vision?
”There’s so many different factors,” Phillips said. ”I think part of it comes from his variety of experiences that he’s had. He’s worked for a lot of good people and he’s taken different aspects of that. But he’s his own man. I think you saw it there today. He has good presence. He is not afraid to state what he feels and his convictions and that came through in the interview process.”
Phillips said that Emery’s previous experience with the Bears as an area scout from 1998-2004 had nothing to do with his candidacy.
”We went through every roster — literally every team’s roster and looked at the personnel people,” Phillips said Monday at Halas Hall. ”I made the decision early on that I focused in on guys who currently were in personnel departments with NFL teams, so that obviously excluded a number of candidates. [Emery] was on that.
”I went through a long process of talking to a lot of other head coaches, general managers, agents, personnel people and nobody had a negative thing to say about Phil Emery. So I became intrigued early on. It was the way he approached the whole process that made him a final candidate.”
Why did he consider only candidates currently employed by NFL teams?
”As much as there’s always a risk involved when you hire someone who has never done that role,” Phillips said, ”I wanted to find someone who had those traits who could grow into the role and be a future great general manager as opposed to someone who had been one and maybe was out of touch with what’s going on in the league for a few years.”
Phillips was asked if the authority given to Emery takes the role of Bears’ general manager to a new level.
The authority — the contractual authority that Phil has is the same as what Jerry Angelo had,” Phillips said. ”He contractually can hire and fire the head coach. He can contractually have final say on the 53-man roster. The reality is just as with Jerry and Lovie — when I hired Jerry I said this, when I hired Phil I said this: ‘I expect not to ever have to pick up your contract and read the language between you and Lovie.’ The idea is you work together to find the best team for the Bears.’ I don’t know of a single team that’s been successful with a general manager jamming players down a coach’s throat.”
Did the Angelo-Smith relationship splinter toward the end?
No. Not at all,” Phillips said. ”Let me say this about hiring Jerry Angelo: I’m glad I hired him in ’01. He brought a lot of success to the Bears. We had a lot of good years. Now it’s time for a new, fresh look at the team.”