George McCaskey: I know retaining Bears leaders isn’t ‘most popular’

In defending his decision to keep the Bears’ power structure in place — president/CEO Ted Phillips, general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy — chairman George McCaskey admitted Wednesday that fans probably didn’t like it.

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In a team meeting Wednesday, Bears chairman George McCaskey told players and coaches that the report of Matt Nagy’s pending firing was not true/

George McCaskey watches the Bears play the Bucs in 2018.

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In defending his decision to keep the Bears’ power structure in place — president/CEO Ted Phillips, general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy — chairman George McCaskey admitted Wednesday that fans probably didn’t like it.

“The decisions we’re announcing today might not be the easiest or most popular,” McCaskey said. “But we believe it’s the best decisions for the Bears.”

McCaskey tried to frame the Bears as being mavericks for having patience, even as he braced for fan reaction.

“I don’t know, frankly, that a lot of people have confidence in this course of action,” he said. “But sometimes you have to take the route that you think is best, even when it’s not the most popular decision. And we’re aware of that. And we’re prepared for that.”

McCaskey talked about the standards the Bears had for the season, though he admitted that this year’s 8-8 finish was closer to 2019 than the team’s 12-4 season in 2018. There were no major consequences for that.

“Have mistakes been made? Yes,” McCaskey said. “But I think Ryan and Matt are both learning and growing in their roles.”

Pace will enter his seventh season, Nagy his fourth.

Phillips said fans calling for the Bears to “fire everyone” don’t understand that “that’s not a recipe for success.” He said the Bears will not give extensions to either Pace or Nagy, but could if the team shows improvement next year. Nagy has two years left on his contract; Phillips refused to say how much longer Pace’s contract will run, but it’s believed he and Nagy are on a similar timeline.

“Contracts have not been part of our discussions,” Phillips said. “It’s not a concern with anyone. When we show improvements, contracts will take care of themselves.”

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