The departure of Jerry Angelo from his post as Bears general manager wasnt an end; it was a beginning.
The exact genesis of the move will be difficult to ferret out but it carries a clear fingerprint of George McCaskey, who took over this season as Bears chairman. It was not the result of any power struggle between Angelo and coach Lovie Smith, sources said. Smith and coaches were stunned when the news hit on Tuesday morning.
An interesting note was provided by NBC colleague Peggy Kusinski (@NBCChicago), who confirmed that McCaskey has gotten together with Blackhawks major domos Rocky Wirtz and John McDonough and topic of conversation was change.
Well, this would be change.
Wirtz was at the forefront of a revival and makeover of the Blackhawks image after the passing of Wirtzs father Bill. Whether or how much that played into McCaskey decisions regarding Angelo shouldnt be dismissed.
Any message regarding change certainly will not be lost on Lovie Smith, who is coming back as head coach with two years remaining on his contract at 5.5 million per.
Beyond Smith, however, are immediate trickle-down questions within the organization. Angelo let go of pro personnel head Bobby DePaul and college scouting chief Greg Gabriel and hired Tim Ruskell, a friend and longtime colleague. The move saved money but Ruskell is expected to be gone with Angelo.
Cliff Stein, senior director of football administration and general counsel, is expected to remain in primary charge of negotiations.
Type of target
Because of draft problems that have largely defined Angelos tenure, look for the Bears to go strong for a personnel guy rather than a business facilitator.
NFL sources dismissed thoughts that Bill Cowher could be lured out of his network analyst job (thats where the Bears found Mike Martz) and into Halas Hall. However, Cowher had a long run of success with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Rooney family, close friends of the McCaskeys.
Same with Bill Polian and son Chris, out in Indianapolis. Polian was the chief architect of the four Super Bowl teams fielded by the Buffalo Bills under owner Ralph Wilson. Wilson also was very close with the McCaskeys.
More as the day plays out.