Quietly, a 73-year-old consultant began assembling candidates to be the next Bears general manager. He’ll have neither the final say nor any role with the Bears after their searches are complete, but he might be the organization’s most influential man in the interim.
The Bears announced Monday they’d hired Ernie Accorsi, a member of the NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel, as a consultant to help chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips find a general manager.
The Bears chose him over other panel members in part because he understands the tradition of the team. He was a suite-mate of Brian Piccolo at Wake Forest, and once worked for George Halas in the league office.
He agreed to work for the Bears if they decided to make changes; Sunday night, they determined they were firing GM Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman.
McCaskey and Phillips will have the final decision among candidates suggested by the former Giants and Browns general manager.
Ideally, the Bears will hire a general manager first, McCaskey and Phillips said, and that man will hire a coach. However, Accorsi has advised the Bears not to be afraid to move quickly if an ideal coach is available.
Phillips said bringing in Accorsi will make a “huge difference,” compared to the search that produced Emery.
“I think what we have now with Ernie coming in is someone consistent, who is giving us a voice on a daily basis who’s on our side and doesn’t have any other agenda to try to push their own people,” Phillips said.
Accorsi, the Giants’ GM from 1998-2007, consulted the Panthers on the hiring of GM Dave Gettleman, then the Giants’ senior pro personnel analyst, almost two years ago.
Another Giants official was a candidate for the Panthers and could be for the Bears: Marc Ross, their vice president of player evaluation.
Other finalists Accorsi collected for the Panthers job included Carolina interim Brandon Beane; Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson; Vikings assistant GM George Paton; and Montreal Alouettes vice president Jim Popp, Marc Trestman’s old CFL boss.
Phillips said Accorsi’s list is not exhaustive, but should be soon because the Bears have a sense of urgency.
The Bears, too, could consider Chiefs director of pro personnel Chris Ballard, who spent 12 years in Halas Hall.
“Somebody who has worked here before isn’t automatically considered over somebody else,” McCaskey said. “And somebody who hasn’t been here before isn’t automatically eliminated from consideration.”