Bears spared Giants, Pats by picking Phil Emery as GM

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31: Televisa reporter Marisol Gonzalez interviews Kyle Hix (L) #69 and Christian Cox #47 of the New England Patriots during Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) R:MerlinGetty_Photos138019680.jpg

INDIANAPOLIS – A day after the Bears introduced Phil Emery as their general manager, executives from the two Super Bowl teams were relieved two of their staff members aren’t headed to Halas Hall.

New York Giants owner John Mara said Tuesday he had a ‘‘long conversation” with Bears president Ted Phillips about the GM search. Mara also chatted with Bears chairman George McCaskey.

‘‘I had mixed feelings about that,” Mara told the Sun-Times of the Bears’ decision not to hire Giants college-scouting director Marc Ross. ‘‘Marc deserves to be a general manager, as do [director of pro personnel] Dave Gettleman and [assistant GM] Kevin Abrams. But I was happy we were able to keep [Ross].”

Ross, of course, was disappointed.

‘‘Any time you’re competing, you’d liked to come out on top,” Ross told the Sun-Times. ‘‘But I’m at a great place. I love where I am, and I love the people I work for. And the chance to win another Super Bowl is the best thing of all.

‘‘If I had to [choose between] winning a Super Bowl or being a GM, I’d pick the Super Bowl. I feel my time will come. If not, I’ll just keep doing a good job for the Giants.”

The Patriots didn’t make Jason Licht, who was a finalist for the Bears’ GM position, available to reporters. But player-personnel director Nick Caserio said he is thankful Licht isn’t going anywhere.

‘‘He’s got a great feel and a great knowledge and understanding of the league and players, and he works well with our staff,” Caserio said. ‘‘Jason is well-respected in the league. He’s got a lot of experience. A lot of people who have worked with him had a lot of positive things to say, so we’re glad we have him.”

Fewell’s decision

In 2010, Perry Fewell could have become the defensive coordinator of the Bears or the Giants. Even though he had been the Bears’ defensive backs coach in 2005, he headed to New Jersey.

‘‘I love Lovie Smith and enjoyed my time in Chicago, [but] I knew that was coach Smith’s defense,” Fewell said. ‘‘He is an excellent defensive coach, and I just thought I probably needed to step out on my own and run my own defense.”

Still, Fewell said he considers Smith ‘‘like a brother” and said the decision was a hard one.

‘‘Probably the most difficult decision I’ve had to make.” he said.

Fewell said he learned how to deal with players and people under Smith.

‘‘That experience is probably the best growth experience I’ve had in the National Football League, as far as how to handle tough situations and how to be a professional,” Fewell said.

Overall, Fewell estimated his defense has changed ‘‘maybe 30 percent” since leaving the Bears.

‘‘Because of the evolution of offenses,” he said.

Largely because of injuries, the Giants’ defense ranked 27th in yards allowed during the regular season. But the unit has ramped up its play in the postseason, yielding 37 points in three games.

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