Ruskell not likely Angelo's replacement

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
12:15
PM ET
It's not likely the Chicago Bears will use Tuesday's press conference to announce the promotion of director of player personnel Tim Ruskell as the successor to recently fired general manager Jerry Angelo.

But it's worth pondering potential replacements.

As NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert pointed out, the Bears are operating under a new chairman in George McCaskey for the first time in nearly 30 years. So it would be unwise to assume Angelo's successor will be a traditional general manager such as Ruskell, a close friend of the departed GM who came to Chicago in 2010 after five years as the Seattle Seahawks' president of football operations.

Ruskell's perceived loyalty to Angelo might be viewed by the organization as a potential hindrance to its long-term goals because the two share similar philosophies, despite the need to find someone quickly to lead the team's draft preparations. Besides that, it's believed the organization will open up the hiring process nationally for what should be one of the most highly coveted jobs around the league.

Expect former Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Bill Polian, who was fired Monday, to emerge as a candidate.

But Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie will draw the most speculation as Angelo's potential successor because of his relationship with Bears coach Lovie Smith.

It's unknown whether Smith will play a role in the organization's selection.

According to sources, Smith and McKenzie are close, and the executive's track record is undeniable since he took over as director of football operations in 2008, after working 10 years as Green Bay's director of pro personnel. Since joining the Packers in 1994 as a pro personnel assistant, the organization has won eight division titles, three conference crowns and two Super Bowls. Interestingly, McKenzie's daughter, Jasmin, attends Wheaton College outside of Chicago.

Other personnel executives around the league could be in consideration, according to sources, such as Detroit's Sheldon White, Les Snead of the Atlanta Falcons, Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore's Eric DeCosta.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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