The Chicago Bears interviewed Champ Kelly for their GM vacancy. Here’s what to know about the team’s assistant director of player personnel.
The Chicago Bears have reached out to at least 13 general manager and 10 coaching candidates for interviews. As they go through the process, we’re looking at each of the prospects.
Champ Kelly interviewed for the general manager position Thursday, the team announced.
<mark class=”hl_orange”>Champ Kelly</mark>
Title: Assistant director of player personnel
Having spent the past seven seasons within the Bears organization, Kelly certainly has plenty of institutional knowledge with a firm understanding of how the machine works. He was hired by then-GM Ryan Pace in 2015 to become the team’s director of pro scouting and was promoted to his current role two years later. Before coming to Chicago, Kelly was with the Denver Broncos for eight seasons, starting as a scout and working his way up to become the assistant director of pro personnel in his final five seasons.
You should know
During Kelly’s final four seasons in Denver and under the oversight of John Elway, the Broncos won four consecutive AFC West championships and advanced to Super Bowl XLVIII in 2013. In 2014, the Broncos became the second team in league history to sign four free agents who made the Pro Bowl in their first year with the team — receiver Emmanuel Sanders, cornerback Aqib Talib, safety T.J. Ward and defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
Front office continuity may not be a plus for the Bears at this point and would certainly be a difficult sell to an increasingly agitated fan base. In Kelly’s seven seasons with the Bears, with Pace at the controls of the front office, the Bears failed to record a playoff victory, had a .425 winning percentage and lost 38 of the 51 games they played against playoff teams.
What’s been said
“This business is about relationships. Champ has a genuine empathy for people and particularly players. Countless times, with a discipline thing or whatever (else), he gave you a different perspective in your evaluation of what you should do. He always was a very calming force in that regard.” — Former Bears and Broncos coach John Fox, who worked with Kelly in both Chicago and Denver (to The Athletic in 2020)