- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The New York Giants' track record of success in the NFL draft is well documented since Marc Ross assumed the title of college scouting director in May 2007. Ross had a hand in selecting such core members of the 2011 NFC champions as wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and safety Kenny Phillips.
But that wasn't enough to earn Ross a second interview with the Bears for the general manager job that eventually went to Phil Emery.
"You have your credentials, you have your resume, you have your team, but I think it all comes down to who is the best fit for that team," Ross said Tuesday at Super Bowl XLVI media day. "So, of the three general manager [interviews] I've done (Chicago, Seattle, Indianapolis), each team has looked for a certain fit to fit their team, which goes beyond credentials.'
"Phil and I started the same year. I remember the first time I met him was at Howard University, standing in the endzone during two-a-days. Nice guy, always been a nice guy. Always respected him. Have always got a long with him."
Ross is generally portrayed in the NFL scouting community as an exceptionally bright individual. At age 27, he became the NFL's youngest scouting director with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2000. But even though Ross has been a professional talent evaluator since the late-1990s, there is a school of thought that perhaps his youth could potentially be a negative in the eyes of a team like the Bears, who opted to hire an older general manager with previous ties to the organization.
"I would think [age could work against you]," Ross said. "You got to take a stand [to] go out and [hire] a young guy, an up-and-coming guy who has just been in college [scouting]. Obviously, I think I have a lot of positive traits, but from the outside, I can see certain people not feeling comfortable with certain things that I may bring to the table, age being one of them. Again, it's all about the fit and what they are going to feel comfortable with hiring their general manager."
Ross was one of five people to interview for the Bears' general manager position, along with Emery, New England Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht, San Diego Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye and former Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell. But of the five, it was Ross who seemed the generate the most buzz when the Bears released the list of candidates.
"I had friends in Chicago and had people who kept me abreast to what was going on," Ross said. "Of course, I would take it for what it's worth and laugh, because those people weren't the ones making the decision. But it was flattering to hear some of that stuff. My wife and I even had a little joke going about it. But at the end of it, I had to go interview and the Bears had to make their decision. Ted [Phillips] and those guys had to make the decision, not the fans."