- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Chicago Bears reporter
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The pool continues to shrink for the successor to recently fired Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, with the Baltimore Ravens announcing that director of player personnel Eric DeCosta has decided to remain with the team.
The Bears had sought permission to interview DeCosta for their GM vacancy. On Thursday, the Bears lost another potential target when the Oakland Raiders hired Green Bay Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie as their new GM.
That doesn't totally diminish Chicago's chances of bringing in the top-notch talent evaluator it covets.
A source told ESPNChicago.com on Thursday that the Bears were "meticulously vetting" Atlanta Falcons director of player personnel Les Snead to bring in for an interview. Besides that, sources have also said that Bears coach Lovie Smith -- who will have a hand in this process -- isn't necessarily searching for one of the big-name prospects as much as he's looking for someone he's comfortable with and can trust.
Those criteria could lead the Bears into taking a look at Washington Redskins director of pro personnel Morrocco Brown, who worked in Chicago as the assistant director of player personnel from 2001 to May of 2008.
Brown is familiar with Smith and his philosophy as well as the inner workings of the Bears.
Multiple sources said the team had targeted DeCosta initially, but it appears now that Snead is the most attractive of the remaining candidates. But Snead is set to interview in St. Louis and Indianapolis. Chicago would appear to be the most attractive of the teams to Snead. But it's worth noting that the Colts own the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, which could prove enticing.
In explaining the club's search criteria in the aftermath of Angelo's departure, Bears team president Ted Phillips cited chemistry with Smith and the ability to evaluate talent as two key attributes the Bears covet in their next GM. Snead has shown the ability to mesh with coaches, considering he's worked through multiple changes of regimes. A former tight end at Auburn, Snead has served under four head coaches in Atlanta.
Snead works closely with Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who came to Atlanta in 2008 from New England, where the Patriots held a .819 winning percentage during his tenure. The Falcons promoted Snead to director of player personnel in 2009.
It's also believed that Arizona Cardinals director of player personnel Steve Keim could emerge as one of Chicago's top targets. Keim has held his position since May of 2008.
As the search for a GM heats up, however, the Bears at some point will need to satisfy the "Rooney Rule," a league mandate in which teams must interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching jobs and positions in senior football operations.
John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance shared his organization's list of the league's top minority candidates.
Included on the organization's current list are: Jimmy Raye Jr., San Diego Chargers director of player personnel; Marc Ross, New York Giants director of college scouting; Ray Farmer, Kansas City Chiefs director of pro personnel; Lake Dawson, Tennessee Titans vice president of football operations; Will Lewis, Seattle Seahawks vice president of pro personnel; Louis Reddick, Philadelphia Eagles director of pro personnel; and Sheldon White, Detroit Lions vice president of pro personnel.
Farmer and Dawson have been linked to the Bears' current opening.
The Bears can cross off Eric DeCosta and Reggie McKenzie their GM list.