Front office in order

In order to gain the interest of premier candidates, the same day Dick Jauron was relieved of his coaching duties the Bears extended the contracts of GM Jerry Angelo and Team President and CEO Ted Phillips.

Continuity became the buzzword Monday at Halas Hall. Phillips explained his vision for the future of the franchise with him and Jerry Angelo at the helm through 2008.

"When I was named CEO about five years ago one of my goals, and I believe is the goal of every successful team who can sustain success over a period of time, is to have a front office that has continuity and is stable," Phillips said.

There was a perceived power struggle within the organization between Angelo and the McCaskey family, but with Angelo's contract extension and the firing of Dick Jauron, a favorite of the ownership, that debate is over.

While Angelo has made his share of mistakes since becoming the team's general manager two-and-a-half years ago, the '03 draft class has yielded two starters in CB Charles Tillman and LB Lance Briggs and from their perspective the quarterback of the future in Rex Grossman.

"I'd like to say that I'm very pleased with the job Jerry has done both in overseeing our football operations and in his ability to bring talent in from whatever source is necessary whether it be the draft, free agency, practice squads, waiver wires, trades," Ted Phillips said. "He's an asset. And I believe that he will be the architect of our next championship team."

The timing of the announcement has been perceived by many as classless considering it comes on the same day that Jauron lost his job. There are going to be several coaching vacancies and the Bears have narrowed their search between 6-8 candidates.

Under new NFL guidelines, assistant coaches with playoff teams can be interviewed during the bye-week. If a meeting does not take place during the break then it could be postponed until the Super Bowl.

Thus any delay would put the Bears behind other suitors such as the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants.

"I'm not naïve enough to think that there's that someone special (out) there and we have to be the first in line to get to him," Angelo said. "Most of the candidates, if not all, I'll be able to contact this week."

The team is also trying to change their identity from a "mom and pop" organization into a 21st century franchise.

With the search for a new coach to begin immediately the Bears had to clear up any doubt about the decision making process.

"I think this business has become an awfully big business, financially and otherwise," Phillips said. "Demands are such that you see people like a Mike Holmgren, who gave up his general manager duties. Being a head coach is a demanding job, a stressful job, especially in a big market like this. Being a general manager is the same way. So I like the structure we have in place. Jerry and I have a great working relationship. We communicate real well. I'm sure the new head coach will fit into that."

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