The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Phil Emery takes over as general manager of the Chicago Bears

  • Print

LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Phil Emery presented a thorough plan for improving the Chicago Bears, and team president Ted Phillips loved his attention to detail and his toughness from his days as a strength and conditioning coach at Navy.

That's how Emery became the top choice to become the team's new general manager. And when Phillips called around the league and talked with other GMs, coaches and executives to get their take, he heard nothing that challenged his initial impression.

"Nobody had a negative thing to say about Phil Emery, so I became intrigued early on," Phillips said.

Emery was introduced Monday as the Bears GM, taking over after Jerry Angelo was fired following an 8-8 season that featured the Bears faltering down the stretch after injuries to quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte.

During Angelo's 11-year run, the Bears won four division championships, reached the Super Bowl and got back to the NFC championship game after the 2010 season. But Angelo, who had been under contract through 2013, was undone on several fronts — especially when backup Caleb Hanie struggled mightily after Cutler was hurt.

Chicago has missed the playoffs four out of the last five seasons.

The 53-year-old Emery actually worked under Angelo when he was a Bears area scout from 1998-2004. His final year in that post overlapped for five months with coach Lovie Smith, whose future Emery will now determine.

Emery made it clear that he's his own man and not following in the footsteps of Angelo, who like Emery had an extensive scouting and personnel background before getting his first GM job.

"I'm a very different person than Jerry. I worked for Jerry. I respect him. But we both come from different backgrounds as any two people would," Emery said. "My influences are different."

Emery spent the three previous seasons as director of college scouting for the Kansas City Chiefs. From 2004-08, Emery held a similar post with the Atlanta Falcons. Among his several college coaching stops were stints as conditioning and strength coach at both Tennessee and Navy.

There are areas where he is not as experienced. Emery said during his stay with the Falcons he became familiar with salary-cap issues, but acknowledged he would have to rely on Bears lead contract negotiator Cliff Stein.

Emery and New England Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht were finalists and both interviewed twice. The Bears also interviewed San Diego Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye, New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross, and former director of player personnel Tim Ruskell.

Ruskell and the Bears parted ways by mutual decision Monday, a team spokesman said, so Emery now has a vacancy to fill.

Phillips said Emery's previous stint with the Bears was not a major consideration in him being hired.

"The familiarity really had no bearing at all," Phillips said. "I mean, he was an area scout so you really only saw him at draft time for a couple of weeks so I really didn't have a relationship with him.

"But what you do find out is — you did sense even back then — that he had convictions in his evaluations even back then. You saw a little start of what might be traits of a general manager but really had nothing to do with the fact that he worked here."

Phillips' mandate for his new GM was an ability to work with Smith and close the talent gap in the NFC North with the Packers and more recently the Detroit Lions. He said he also wants the Bears to be more productive with their higher picks.

As for his relationship with Smith, Emery said he, Smith and all members of the coaching staff and football operations department will be evaluated daily.

He praised the schemes Smith has brought to the Bears and said he would do everything possible to be in synch with Smith and work with him toward building a championship through the draft and free agency.

"I have great respect for what Lovie has done," Emery said during a nearly hour-long news conference at Halas Hall. "The consistency of teaching, of being systematic is very important. I would say that the Naval Academy taught me more in that area than any other coaching assignment.

"We had players who were under extreme stress in their daily activities and it was very important that the scheme stayed the same so that we could play fast. ... When I watch Lovie Smith's defence those players play fast because they know the scheme. So consistency is important."

Phillips said Emery has the power to hire and fire a head coach and final say on the 53-man roster but he doesn't expect there to be any problems.

"The idea is you work together to find the best team for the Bears," Phillips said. "I don't know of a single team that's been successful with a general manager jamming players down the coach's throat."

Emery, who said he watched tape or six or seven Bears games before his first interview and even more before the season, praised Cutler and veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher, who will be entering his 13th NFL season as the Bears' marquee defensive player.

"I've heard rumblings that there is age on our roster," Emery said. "I kind of look at it this way: It's not a numerical number. It's whether you are making plays. If it was just a numerical number and number of grey hairs, I wouldn't be standing here."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Bowman describes meeting with Chipman as 'positive and productive'

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two Canadian geese perch themselves for a perfect view looking at the surroundings from the top of a railway bridge near Lombard Ave and Waterfront Drive in downtown Winnipeg- Standup photo- May 01, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you plan to watch Saturday's boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google