New Chicago Bears President Kevin Warren wasted no time in talking about his thoughts for the team's potential new stadium in Arlington Heights.
Speaking during his introductory press conference Tuesday, Warren was asked about his experience with the Minnesota Vikings and U.S. Bank Stadium, a venue widely viewed as one of the premier stadiums in the NFL -- and how he plans to use that experience to help the Bears.
Warren was COO of the Vikings when the team opened U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016 and the Bears' current proposals for Arlington Heights offer many similarities to the Minnesota arena.
"I remember when we finished the stadium. I have all these boxes of binders and many people said, 'You can get rid of those. You'll never use those again.' I'm glad I saved them," Warren said.
But his biggest takeaway might not be what fans eager for change want to hear.
"I think the biggest thing I learned was the fact that you need to plan before you start digging," Warren said. "And I think what made and makes U.S. Bank Stadium so special - we spent almost a year in planning and planning is critical. And that's what I appreciate about the McCaskeys is that they support the planning process. And so I think that will be really critical from that standpoint. I know we're focused on Arlington Park and that stadium development project. I look forward to leaning in to the stadium development project, but I think the biggest thing we can do is to make sure that we're methodical, we're detailed, and we take the time to plan it properly."
He added that's still getting up to speed on the transition details and will spend much of the next several months focused on that, reiterating that the Arlington Park stadium is currently the team's only focus.
Technically the Bears still need to close on their purchase agreement for Arlington Park, but the team has made it clear that moving to the suburbs is their singular focus for their next home. Bears chairman George McCaskey said in a town hall meeting in September that the team will not explore any other options for a new stadium while the team is under contract to purchase the property. Even still, Chicago has proposed a number of changes to Soldier Field.
The hire of Warren signals a change in thinking from Bears chairman George McCaskey and a willingness to bring in someone with new ideas and different viewpoints.
Warren is the first president to truly come from outside the organization in franchise history. The Bears have been looking for a new president since Ted Phillips announced his retirement in September.
"Many people have asked me, 'Why the Bears?' Why this time? This because of the challenge, the opportunity," Warren said Tuesday.
While his official start date wasn't formally announced, Warren said there have been discussions of the final transition taking place in April.