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Bears GM Emery 'Excited' For New Coach Search

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 1, 2013 5:00PM

Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery.
Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery met with the media a few moments ago to address Monday’s firing of head coach Lovie Smith and the search for a new coach and made it abundantly clear the decision to let the third-winningest coach in Bears history was ultimately his to make. Emery also said he hopes to have a new head coach in place before the college football all-star games commence.

Emery’s decision to fire Smith, despite the Bears ending the season with a 10-6 record, was given the blessings of team president Ted Phillips and chairman George McCaskey; which may or may not alleviate the fears of the most meatheaded of Bears fans that he’s in charge and not taking directives from some random McCaskey shoveling the driveway outside Halas Hall. In contrast to his predecessor as GM, Jerry Angelo, Emery laid out a plan to rebuild the Bears, particularly around the talents of quarterback Jay Cutler.

“I want to take the talents we have and rebuild the team around them,” Emery said. “We have to be sure we have complementary pieces to keep building.” With all the focus on the lack of development in the Bears’ offense under Smith, Emery’s comments hint that he’s looking for an offensive-minded head coach. Yet he said whoever gets the job must “develop all of our players” and that the right candidate “has high energy that pulls people together in the building.” Emery didn’t elaborate on Brian Urlacher’s impending free agency or the contract statuses of other impending free agents, but offered support for Urlacher’s struggles in 2012. "Coming back from the (knee) injury there was a time when he looked a little rusty. There was a time he looked better."

Emery has already scheduled an interview with Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Sullivan helped develop Eli Manning into one of the league’s elite quarterbacks while coaching with the New York Giants and honed Josh Freeman into a serviceable quarterback with the Buccaneers. Emery said other candidates on his wish list may have to wait until the playoffs shake out, depending on their availability. Emery will handle the initial interviews with coaching candidates then bring in McCaskey and Phillips once the finalists are decided.