Bears tab Phil Emery as GM

Updated: January 29, 2012, 1:32 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

The Chicago Bears announced they reached an agreement Saturday with Phil Emery to become the franchise's fifth general manager.

The team plans to introduce Emery during a Monday 2 p.m. press conference at Mugs Halas Auditorium.

Bringing 14 years of NFL experience, Emery spent the last three years at Kansas City, as its director of college scouting. Emery's return to Chicago marks his second stint with the franchise. Emery worked as an area scout for the club from 1998-2004, and during that period the Bears drafted Pro Bowlers such as linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, in addition to cornerback Charles Tillman.

Other Pro Bowl selections during Emery's first stint in Chicago included receiver Marty Booker, kick returner Jerry Azumah, safety Mike Brown, defensive tackle Tommie Harris, and cornerback Nathan Vasher.

Before finally settling on Emery as the GM to succeed recently-fired Jerry Angelo, the Bears considered several candidates for the position, including current director of player personnel Tim Ruskell, San Diego's Jimmy Raye, New England's Jason Licht, and the New York Giants' Marc Ross. After interviewing those candidates, the Bears brought in Licht and Emery earlier in the week for second interviews before finally settling on Emery.

Emery worked as the director of college scouting for the Atlanta Falcons from 2004-08 before a new regime led by general manager Thomas Dimitroff joined the club and demoted Emery to regional scout. According to a source, Emery's demotion came about because of the regime change and wasn't indicative of the job he had done up to that point. The source said that despite the demotion, Emery "continued to do a great job," leading to an endorsement from Dimitroff for the move to Kansas City.

The source also lauded Emery's "people skills" and ability to evaluate personnel.

During Emery's tenure in Atlanta, two of the club's three first-round picks -- quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Roddy White -- became Pro Bowl selections, and the Falcons advanced to the postseason twice, including a berth in the 2004 NFC title game.

Known as "Doc" to scouts around the NFL, Emery was described as a "grinder" by one high-ranking AFC front office executive, and "smart" and "extremely professional" by Bears employees that worked with the new GM during his first stint with the organization.

A native of Michigan, Emery has 31 years of combined football experience, beginning his career as a student assistant at his alma mater, Wayne State, before becoming a graduate assistant at Central Michigan (1981-82). Emery joined Western New Mexico to serve as the offensive line/strength and conditioning coach in 1982, where he worked the next three seasons.

Emery's other stops include Georgetown College (defensive line coach from 1984-85), Saginaw Valley State (1985-87), University of Tennessee (1987-91) and the U.S. Naval Academy (1991-98).

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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