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Bears still aim to hire GM first, but time is of the essence

It was a week ago Sunday night — after the Bears arrived home following a lackluster loss against the Minnesota Vikings to cap a 5-11 season — when chairman George McCaskey said the decision was made to fire general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman.

A day later, McCaskey and president/CEO Ted Phillips said that their searches for the next GM and coach wouldn’t be bound by a timeline, but that they would operate with a sense of urgency.

“We will be prepared to act when we get the right candidates in place,” Phillips said.

They’re nearing a time for more urgency.

League sources have said that the Bears’ preference to hire a GM first remains strong. After that happens, their coaching search is expected to expand, perhaps including former Jets coach Rex Ryan, former Broncos and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, current Chiefs and former Bears special-teams coordinator Dave Toub and others.

The Bears confirmed Saturday that they have interviewed Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

Chris Ballard, the Chiefs’ director of player personnel, was expected to interview with the Bears this weekend. NFL sources have suggested that Ballard, who worked for the Bears for 12 seasons, is the front-runner.

Time is dwindling for the Bears’ brass. The next GM not only will have to find his next coach, but also get his scouting staff in order with college all-star games approaching.

Senior Bowl practice week, an important time for player evaluations, begins Jan. 19 in Mobile, Alabama.


Twitter: @adamjahns