Jim O'Donnell: Lesson No. 1 for Ryan Poles -- always stay ahead of the posse at Halas Hall

  • Bears General Manager Ryan Poles

    Bears General Manager Ryan Poles Courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs

Updated 1/26/2022 5:15 PM

IN A PERFECT BEARS UNIVERSE -- hah! -- Ryan Poles would receive appropriate sports & media counseling before assuming office as general manager.

He would be told to never lose sight of one nuanced career survival skill above the fields of emerald in Lake Forest:


Be ready to walk at any time.

Very simple.

It could be next week. It could be a dog day of summer. It could be some other disenchanted January.

It will be when some addled, front-office fourth-and-long descends upon Halas Hall, and the No. 1 concern of Poles should be the future of Ryan Poles.

So, keep all networking lines forever open and fully functional.

He's not signed on for entry into the NFL's Shambhala.

POLES WILL KNOW when the suffocating dysfunctionalness of the McCaskey Bears preempts any hint that the organization is on target to win that elusive second Super Bowl.

He -- not ownership -- will be blamed.

So will his head coach.

Since the Bears first designated a nonfamily football chief with Jim Finks in 1974, none of the five have gotten away without their NFL careers either disrupted or essentially blown to smithereens.

Finks came closest. But he had to zig to the Cubs, then zag to the Saints and eventually get blindsided by a cabal of new owners as an odds-on choice to succeed Pete Rozelle as commissioner of the NFL in 1989.

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As for Jerry Vainisi, Jerry Angelo, Phil Emery and Ryan Pace -- kaputski.

MANY SAY FINKS brought the Bears out of The Stone Age.

Some also say that the true savior of the Mirth Free will be the football leader fortunate enough to shepherd the franchise out of The McCaskey Age.

That's not going to happen until the family is induced to sell controlling interest of the team.

And that apparently isn't going to happen until an actuarial inevitability occurs.

SO YOUNG RYAN POLES -- age 36 of suburban Rochester, N.Y. -- is the new general manager of the Bears.

The natural odds of the team winning a Lombardi Trophy in the next four years are slightly greater than 7-1.

More bettable would be the probable odds of the job being a career-breaker for Poles.

That is, unless he keeps his career sprinting shoes never more than a "Siri" command away from his new electric chair at Halas Hall.


STREET-BEATIN': Also from the adaptable K.C. Chiefs file -- managing heir Clark Hunt introduced a "Faith and Family Chapel" on game days in a tent outside Arrowhead Stadium. From 9:50 to 10:45 a.m. before noon kickoffs, ticketed fans can join together in prayer. (The Bears could probably get at least $20 per-worshipper in the south lot at Soldier Field, depending on the wine.) ...

Just for the record, the Chiefs hired Andy Reid with their GM slot open back in January 2013. John Dorsey got the position, went 43-21 in the ensuing four years and orchestrated the drafting of Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Then he suddenly got waxed before Mahomes took a pro snap, to be succeeded by Brett Veach, a career running mate and bud of Ryan Poles. ...

Jimmy Garoppolo showed extraordinary class by staying out in the frigid air of Green Bay late night Saturday for a post-victory interview with Fox sideliner Tom Rinaldi. Also begging the Q.: Why doesn't the ultra-telegenic "Jimmy G" have more prominent national endorsement deals? (The fellow has a smile that makes Tom Brady look like Kent "Adam 12" McCord.) ...

Tony Romo and Jim Nantz were noticeably flat in their call of Sunday's video gamer between K.C. and Buffalo. (And the NFL was one squib kickoff from having all four DC games come in with visiting 'dogs win each by 3 points. That's a superfecta that would have left both Lefty Rosenthal and "Bennie" Benson smirking.) ...

Braden Huff, Caden Pierce and nationally ranked Glenbard West (22-0) tip off live seasonal boys basketball coverage on "The U" vs. visiting St. Charles North Saturday (WCIU-Channel 26, primary; 5:30 p.m.) ...

And the O'Hare baggage-claim video gone viral of the blue-jeaned Bears chairman picking up the team's new GM Monday prompted Eddie Zaleski to suggest: "Ryan Poles' first question should have been, 'Is Mr. McCaskey out in the limo?' "

• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at jimodonnelldh@yahoo.com.

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