Thursday, January 6, 2011
Jerry Angelo focused on playoffs
By Michael C. Wright
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo made two things clear Thursday when he addressed the media at Halas Hall: He won't address the future of coach Lovie Smith until the conclusion of the team's playoff run; and he's not going anywhere, despite rumors of him possibly stepping aside at the end of the season.
Despite Smith leading the team to an NFC North title for the third time in the last six years -- and the No. 2 seed for the playoffs, speculation has swirled concerning whether the team should allow the coach in 2011 to enter the final year of a five-year, $23.5 million contract.
"We have really focused on just each and every week, and I think that's critical," Angelo said. "We will continue to stay that course.
"When the season is over, and hopefully that's not gonna be for a while, then we will address all those things. We always do what you need to do to take care of business, and I'm gonna leave it at that. Right now, our focus is on this upcoming game and finishing the job."
As for his own future, Angelo brushed aside the notion that he might step aside at the conclusion of the team's playoff run. In the midst of his 10th NFL season as the Bears' general manager, Angelo has taken criticism for questionable acquisitions through free agency and the draft.
Although the Bears received plenty for their investment in Julius Peppers, other recent free-agent acquisitions such as running back Chester Taylor and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna at this point appear to be disappointments, similar to former first-round pick Chris Williams, who was selected as the team's left tackle of the future, yet is currently starting at guard.
"I don't even know why [my future is] even important to anybody," Angelo said. "I've heard [speculation about stepping aside]. It's no big deal. The only one happy to hear that is my wife. But that's not gonna happen. I'm very fortunate to be here, and as long as I'm blessed with health, I'll continue to do what I love to do, and that's be a part of football."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.