Pace extension highlight Bears coaching decision presser

Ryan Pace Bears GM

The Chicago Bears sent many mixed signals through an approximate half hour news conference discussing the decision to fire John Fox, but one thing became clear. General Manager Ryan Pace is armed with a two-year contract extension that takes him through the 2021 season and keeps him aligned with a new head coach.

The Bears, never the most media savvy organization, sent team President Ted Phillips to the podium first to announce Pace’s extension and ownership’s support of the team’s direction. The optic of Phillips addressing assembled media gives a bad taste to many who think Phillips is unnecessarily involved in Chicago football operations, a statement that may have some validity.

Next, Pace stepped forward and interspersed his respect for Fox while also accepting blame for the team’s 14-34 record on his watch. “I need to point the finger at myself as well.”

As he looked forward to the search for the Bears 16th head coach in club history, Pace made QB Mitch Trubisky a focal point of the team’s future and reiterated the plan to add on to the core of talented young players and build through the draft.

Regarding the task of finding a new voice to lead the Chicago locker room, Pace promised a wide-ranging process that focused on finding the “best coach” regardless of expertise on either side of the ball. He also shot down rumors that the Bears had already requested permission to interview candidates, but that may be more a matter of semantics in regard to behind the scenes discussion.

Chicago is thrust into a high-stakes competition to find their next sideline boss. With five other clubs, and potentially as many as eight, looking to fill head coaching vacancies in the upcoming weeks, the Bears top brass of Pace, Phillips, and Chairman George McCaskey used the term “collaborative” in describing their protocol for making the new hire. In fact, in a statement that should make Bears fans uneasy, Phillips stated that he  and McCaskey would accompany Pace on interview trips , though he pointed out that Pace had the final say.

Stay tuned for what promises to be an interesting and unorthodox search process.

Extra Points: Team Chairman George McCaskey on the Bears long-suffering fan base: “It’s time for us to give them the winner they deserve.”

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