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Halas Intrigue Bears Report: Family reunion

Halas Intrigue Bears Report
As the NFL’s owners and executives got together in Florida for the league’s annual meeting this week, the Bears’ bosses reiterated that they are taking a long-term approach to rebuilding the team. Read the latest coverage and analysis below.

1. The long game
Matt Eberflus looks and sounds like a man who expects to be coaching the Bears for a decade. And with that view of his situation, it’s easier to accept short-term hits in exchange for long-term gains.
Eberflus certainly isn’t complacent or lackadaisical, but he’s very much at ease while talking about his big plans for the Bears with all the confidence in the world that he’ll be around long enough to see them materialize.
He wants to change everything, and he wants it to last. That requires incremental work. And Eberflus won’t allow his lofty vision to be distracted, even though he knows head coaches typically have a brief window in which to prove themselves. He’s unshakably patient.
‘‘It comes from, No. 1, your faith,’’ Eberflus said. ‘‘There are going to be storms and there are going to be things that hit our facility that are unforeseen. You can’t predict it. And I think you’ve got to stand on solid ground.
‘‘No. 2 is you feel confident in your experiences. I’ve been doing this 30 years. . . . I’ve seen a lot of ways to do it and a lot of ways not to do it, and I feel very confident in the way we’re going to do it.’’
Bears coach Matt Eberflus is thinking about the long term from the start
2. It's all about Justin
As general manager Ryan Poles sized up the work it would take to build the Bears into a winner, he clearly saw quarterback Justin Fields was the centerpiece of their future.
And to build around him, he had to leave outside linebacker Khalil Mack in the past.
It was a bold move for Poles to undo the Bears’ biggest trade of the last decade in his first six weeks on the job and, in doing so, to take a sledgehammer to a pass rush that was arguably the strongest part of the roster. But he thought it was necessary.
Mack is still in his prime, but the Bears went 6-11 last season and need widespread renovation. Getting a second-round pick and clearing a massive salary-cap hit off the books eventually will help set up the infrastructure Fields needs.
‘‘It was looking at where we needed to go,’’ Poles said. ‘‘It just seemed like the right time to do it in terms of value where we can help this team out now and in the future.
‘‘I would understand why some people would be upset. It’s not easy for us to do, either, but . . . my job [is] to do what I think is best for the organization for now and the future.’’
Bears leaving Khalil Mack in past was part of forming future around Justin Fields
3. McCaskey speaks
Last time Bears chairman George McCaskey attended the NFL’s annual meeting — three years ago because of coronavirus-related cancellations — he was on top of the world. His team had skyrocketed to an NFC North title and thought it would be competing for a championship.
It’s quite different this week after he rebooted the organization by firing general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy and replacing them with Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus.
The rebuild is off to a fairly quiet start, with more talent exiting Halas Hall than entering it. And McCaskey, who calls himself a fan, is doing his best to be patient. He has delegated football operations to Poles, who reports only to him and often tells him things that are prudent but far from exhilarating.
‘‘You have to balance your reactions emotionally . . . with what is necessary from a football perspective and as an executive of the team,’’ McCaskey said. ‘‘Striking that balance is important, and Ryan’s been very patient with me.’’
Bears chairman George McCaskey advises patience on potential Arlington Heights stadium
4. In other news
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