Eight things to know about new Bears GM Ryan Pace

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The Bears hired Saints director of player personnel Ryan Pace on Thursday to become the franchise’s sixth general manager.

Here are eight things to know about the new Bears’ executive:

1. Pace was a four-year letterman (1995-99) as a defensive end at Eastern Illinois University and a college teammate of Tony Romo’s. In 1999, as a senior team captain, Pace played in all 12 games and had 46 tackles and three sacks.

2. In 2008, Pace was selected by the Saints to attend the Stanford Business School’s Executive Education NFL-Stanford Program for Managers. According to his bio on the Saints’ website, the educational program serves as an important training ground for promising executives.

3. Pace spent the last two seasons with the Saints as the director of player personnel, meaning he managed the team’s college and pro scouting operations. Here’s who the Saints have drafted in the last two NFL drafts:

2014

20. Brandin Cooks

58. Stanley Jean-Baptiste

126. Khairi Fortt

167. Vinnie Sunseri

169. Ronald Powell

202. Tavon Rooks

2013

15. Kenny Vaccaro

75. Terron Armstead

82. John Jenkins

144. Kenny Stills

183. Rufus Johnson

4. Pace, at 37 years old, is now the youngest GM in the NFL.

5. Saints GM Mickey Loomis said this of Pace on Tuesday: “I’d hate to lose him and yet, he’s ready for a general manager’s job. He’s talented. I would expect to lose him at some point.

Saints coach Sean Payton added: “He is really good at what he does. He’s a big part of what we do. He’s very talented and I know he has been promoted here a few times, and deservedly so.”

6. Pace began his career with the Saints as a marketing intern in 2001.

7. Last year the Saints denied Pace the opportunity to interview with the Dolphins for their GM opening.

8. In getting the Bears’ GM job, Pace beat out Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard, Texans director of pro personnel Brian Gaine and Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson. Pace turned down an opportunity to speak to the Jets.

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