One of the top candidates for the Chicago Bears general manager position is no longer available. Reggie McKenzie, Green Bay' director of football operations, is working on a contract to take over as GM for the Oakland Raiders. McKenzie was considered a frontrunner to replace recently fired Jerry Angelo.
The Bears will turn their attention to the other top candidates on their list, including Les Snead, Atlanta's director of player personnel, and Eric DeCosta, Baltimore's director of player personnel.
ESPNChicago.com cited a source that said the club is "meticulously vetting" Snead in preparation of an interview. The 37-year-old has spent 17 seasons in the NFL, including executive posts with the Falcons since 1997. Snead has a strong reputation as a pro scout. The St. Louis Rams, one of three NFL teams currently searching for a new GM – along with the Bears and Indianapolis Colts – received permission to interview Snead this week.
DeCosta's name was thrown into the ring as soon as Angelo was fired. He's been a hot candidate for years now and could have landed a GM position six years ago if it weren't for his loyalty to the Ravens. Sources say the organization treats DeCosta very well and his wife is from the Baltimore area. Yet for years now, DeCosta has been highly regarded around the league as an executive that could excel as a GM.
It will be hard to pry him away out of Marylanad but if he's willing, it appears the Bears would have no problem making him their next top executive. According to reports, he has in interview scheduled with St. Louis.
Other names being thrown into the fire are George Paton of the Minnesota Vikings, Marc Ross of the New York Giants, Doug Whaley of the Buffalo Bills, Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals and ¬Morocco Brown of the Washington Redskins. Brown and Paton worked with the Bears earlier in their scouting careers. Ross is interviewing for the Colts' GM position today.
The Bears are also reportedly interested in Ted Sundquist, who served as GM for the Denver Broncos from 2002-2007. He drafted current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for Denver back in 2006. The Broncos were 58-38 and made the playoffs three times during Sundquist's tenure.
The Bears hunt for a new GM is a fluid situation, obviously, and could change by the minute. Stick with Bear Report and we'll keep you updated as the search continues to narrow.
UPDATE: DeCosta has officially decided to stay with the Baltimore Ravens. Scratch another candidate off the list.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.