By Ellen Chlumecky
Ryan Pace is the new Chicago Bears general manager. He is now the youngest general manager in the NFL at 37 years old. While he may not be a native of Illinois, he seems to have orange and blue coursing through his veins. His main task is returning the Bears back to greatness. The first crucial step in this long process is to hiring the best head coach for the team.
Before Pace was chosen for the coveted position of general manager for the Chicago Bears, he had quite a track record. Pace was a four-year letterman as a defensive end at Eastern Illinois University. Pace was selected by the Saints to attend the Stanford Business School’s Executive Education NFL-Stanford Program for Managers. Pace spent the last two seasons with the Saints as the director of player personnel. He clearly has the qualifications and experience to take on this position.
George McCaskey, team chairman for the Bears, said that Pace won the job over very qualified candidates. The three other considerations were: Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson, Houston Texans director of pro personnel Brian Gaine, and Chris Ballard who was the former director of player personnel for Chicago and current director of player personnel for Kansas City Chiefs. McCaskey expressed that Pace just stood out. He said he was thorough, charismatic, and showed himself as a leader.
Immediately after signing the contract, Pace started conducting interviews with potential head coaches starting with Todd Bowles. Dan Quinn and Adam Gase have also been interviewed for the position prior to Pace’s contract being signed. While Pace wants the position filled as soon as possible, there is no indication that a hire will be found in the next coming weeks.
Pace’s next item of business is to evaluate the roster and the staff before making any serious decisions about trading or rehiring. An excessive amount of attention has been put on what Pace will be doing with the somewhat tumultuous career of Jay Cutler. He wants to get to know Cutler before making a final decision on his career.
This isn’t Pace’s first problem team that he’s had to deal with in his career. He had to deal with the New Orleans Saints during the height of Hurricane Katrina. He clearly knows how to handle a tough situation but the Bears have been in a rocky spot for more than just a couple of years now. It is quite noble of him to take on such a mighty task as his first GM job. He’s clearly up to the challenge, but we’ll have to see if he can succeed.