Bears hire Brent Salazar as director of high performance

Salazar, a former Vikings strength and conditioning coach, will head a newly created position — named after legendary Bears strength coach Clyde Emrich — to oversee the Bears’ strength-and-conditioning and sports science programs.

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Brent Salazar will oversee the Bears’ strength-and-conditioning and sports science departments.

Brent Salazar will oversee the Bears’ strength-and-conditioning and sports science departments.

AP

The Bears have hired Brent Salazar as their first Clyde Emrich Director of High Performance — a new position created under first-year general manager Ryan Poles to oversee the team’s strength-and-conditioning and sports science departments. The post is named after Bears legendary strength coach Clyde Emrich, who died at 90 in November.

Salazar, a former all-conference college tennis player at New Mexico, has 11 seasons of NFL experience — most recently as the Vikings strength and conditioning coach in 2016. Prior to that he spent nine seasons with the Chiefs as assistant strength and conditioning coach. Poles was with the Chiefs’ personnel department from 2009-22, when he was hired as the Bears’ general manager.

After leaving the Vikings, Salazar was the director of performance at the United States Tennis Association from 2017-20 and was a performance strategist at Kitman Labs — a sports performance/analytics research outfit — the past two years.

“We are excited to add this key hire to our football operations staff, a newly created position to oversee, align and continue to develop our strength and conditioning and sports science to optimize player performance,” Poles said in a statement released by the Bears. “Players maximizing their potential in preparation, on the field, in recovery and rehabilitation is critical to their overall athletic performance and ultimately team success. To honor the late Clyde Emrich, a pioneer in this space, is very fitting for the Director of High Performance.”

The director of high performance is the second new position the Bears have added since hiring Poles to replace Ryan Pace as GM. Previously, they hired Ian Cunningham as assistant general manager.

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