Bears’ Kevin Warren holding himself to higher standard

The Bears’ new president has a different bottom line than predecessor Ted Phillips. Getting a new stadium built and increasing the value of the franchise alone won’t do it for Warren. “I’m here to win championships,” he said.

SHARE Bears’ Kevin Warren holding himself to higher standard
Kevin Warren was introduced as the Bears president and chief operating officer Tuesday at Halas Hall.

Kevin Warren was introduced as the Bears president and chief operating officer Tuesday at Halas Hall.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

Before introducing Kevin Warren as the Bears’ new president Tuesday, chairman George McCaskey hailed retiring president Ted Phillips for his loyal service to the organization and a job well done.

‘‘Our family is indebted to Ted for all he has done for us and for the Bears,’’ McCaskey said. ‘‘He was the first non-family member to hold the title of president and CEO of the Bears, but he is as close to family as one can get. And even though he’s leaving us soon, he will always be part of the Bears family.’’

With a renovated Soldier Field and a franchise that increased in value from $313 million to $5.8 billion during his 24-year tenure, Phillips indeed did the job the McCaskeys hired him to do. In their eyes, however, winning football games wasn’t necessarily one of them. In Phillips’ 24 seasons, the Bears had seven winning seasons, made the playoffs six times and won three postseason games.

‘‘I haven’t had much time to reflect,’’ Phillips said. ‘‘The on-field success hasn’t been there. That has been a disappointment. Not a regret, but it has been a disappointment. Other than that, I feel pretty good about leaving the Bears in a better place than where I started.’’

Warren will hold himself to a higher standard. The former Big Ten commissioner has an immediate responsibility of getting a new stadium complex built in Arlington Heights. But just building a new stadium and increasing the value of the franchise won’t do it for Warren. He has to win.

‘‘That’s an area of responsibility in my mind,’’ Warren said. ‘‘I’m here to win championships. I didn’t come here for a job, I came here for the challenge. And my goal is to make this a championship-caliber team that’s sustainable. I’m not interested for us to have a good year, then a down year, a bad year.

‘‘I want it all. I want to get the stadium built. I want the value of this franchise to increase. I want us to be the best-operated business in not only the NFL but all of sports. And I want to win championships. I want our fans to love us. I want our alumni to be proud. I want the McCaskeys to be proud. And I want it to be that George Halas would be smiling, [that] he’d be proud to walk in this building.’’

Warren didn’t offer details about how to make the on-field product better. He talked about being a ‘‘relationship person,’’ having ‘‘a heightened degree of energy,’’ building trust, having a vision, being fearless and — an old standby — ‘‘bringing in the best players who fit this culture.’’

On this day, however, it didn’t matter. His actions will tell the tale. While Phillips did his job to the McCaskeys’ liking, Warren is expected to be an upgrade from a football standpoint. General manager Ryan Poles would talk football with Phillips, but the dynamic is different with Warren. When Warren pokes his head into Poles’ office to talk football, it will be a more real conversation.

‘‘The one thing you can probably tell where we are alike is the creative thing,’’ Poles said. ‘‘There’s nothing better than sitting down with people that are creative and just feel completely free to dump your thoughts on the table. Really cool things can happen from that, and it can circulate and come out with making a really cool decision that can help our franchise take the next step.’’

There’s a little bit of nuance to the Warren-Poles relationship, but unlike McCaskey and Phillips — who know they aren’t in Poles’ league when it comes to football evaluation — Warren speaks the sport fluently.

Relationships can be tricky in the NFL, but Warren knows his limitations. When it comes to football decisions — issues such as whether to sign linebacker Roquan Smith, for example — Poles will get the final say.

‘‘I’m gonna defer to [him],’’ Warren said. ‘‘That’s what he does. That’s his business. This is where I trust him.’’

The Latest
Dad just disclosed an intimate detail that could prolong the blame game over the breakup.
Evidence points to doping by unscrupulous trainers and owners.
Being their own boss is key for these business owners, but also being there for their kids is just as important.
Teri family finding a shed antler and bagging a turkey during the second weekend of youth turkey season and a record turkey harvest during Illinois’ youth spring turkey seasons are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.