George McCaskey Speaks: Following Pace's Lead on Hunt, Training Camp's Future, Mack, More

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George McCaskey Speaks: Following Pace’s Lead on Hunt, Training Camp’s Future, Mack, More

Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey made his rounds throughout the Chicago media landscape on Thursday, meeting with writers from the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, while also making time for radio appearances on WSCR 670-AM and ESPN 1000-AM. I would implore you to clear some time to give each of these pieces a read and lend an ear for full context on what was on McCaskey’s mind.

I’ve highlighted some things McCaskey discussed with all outlets and provided additional commentary of my own below. Enjoy.

Still “Not There” On Kareem Hunt

When GM Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy first addressed the Kareem Hunt situation in their season-ending press conference, the sentiment was that there was still a ways to go before getting to a point they would consider signing the free agent running back. When given an opportunity to shut the door on the possibility of signing Hunt, McCaskey echoed what Pace said.

“We’re not there yet,” McCaskey said, via the Chicago Tribune. “Ryan (Pace) hasn’t said anything to me about Kareem Hunt. And Matt (Nagy) hasn’t said anything to me about Kareem Hunt.”

He towed that line again in the Sun-Times: “We’re not there yet,” McCaskey said. “The player’s not even eligible. The important thing is that he address issues in his personal life at this point.”

But still … by saying the Bears aren’t there “yet” suggests that there could be a point where the team does get “there” with Hunt. When discussing the issue with Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times, McCaskey offered up a bit more: “If we got to that point, I would see what information is given to me, and review that, and make whatever inquiries I thought were appropriate.”

McCaskey admitted he made a mistake when signing off on the Ray McDonald signing back in 2015 when the free agent defensive lineman was dealing with domestic violence and other off-the-field incidents. With that as a back-drop, it seems as if McCaskey knows he has more to do than discuss the situation with a player’s family and friends before making a football decision. And while I suppose that is progress, McCaskey would be wise to handle this situation with more care than he (and the franchise) did when it was presented before them in 2015.

Re-Visiting the Khalil Mack Trade

One thing that gave some Bears fans pause during their rumored pursuit of Khalil Mack was ownership’s willingness to shell out a mega-contract to a defensive player. After all, the long-time narrative surrounding the McCaskey family in some circles is that they haven’t been willing to spend big bucks on big-time talent. And while history would suggest they have spent money (albeit, unwisely), it was still one of those mental hurdles fans needed to clear. Thankfully, they did just that.

More importantly, McCaskey and the business side of things stayed out of the way until it was time to OK the deal from a financial standpoint.

“I wasn’t really involved in it,” McCaskey said when talking about the trade with the Triune. “Ryan said that he and Matt had conversations going back to training camp. The first I really heard about it was – the trade was on a Saturday, and (Team President) Ted (Phillips) told me the Thursday before: “It looks like this Khalil Mack thing might happen. It’s going to cost us two (first-round picks.” I said, “OK.” And he said, “It’s going to blow the committed cash budget.” And I said, “Go get him.” That was about it.”

When given the opportunity to acquire a generational talent who could change the course of the franchise upon arrival, the Bears’ chairman gave the thumbs up to plowing through “the committed cash budget.” What a concept.

What Halas Hall Expansion Means For Training Camp at Bourbonnais

In 2017, the Bears announced expansion and renovation plans for Halas Hall. It’s been long overdue and progress continues to be made with completion of the project expected to come in April. With both the Sun-Times and Tribune, McCaskey hinted at the construction not being a step toward moving training camp away from the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais and onto the friendly confines of Halas Hall. So while the Bears could probably accommodate training camp with the addition of the new fields and revamped amenities, it doesn’t sound like it’s something in the immediate plans because of other factors

“We look at training camp as an important touch point for our fans,” McCaskey told the Tribune. “I just don’t know how logistically we could expect to bring the same kind of numbers of people onto the property. Parking would be a challenge.”

On Parkey’s Kick and the Fallout

Cody Parkey’s missed kick has opened the floodgates at Halas Hall and there will be plenty of kickers coming through those doors aiming to be his replacement. I’ve lost count of the ways we have discussed the Parkey kick in this web space and elsewhere, but I don’t think any have had the perspective that McCaskey provides.

“That one appeared to be in surreal, slow motion,” McCaskey said, via the Sun-Times. “The upright and then the crossbar. It was almost like one of those cartoons where the ball is wobbling on the crossbar, deciding which way it’s going to go over.”

That re-telling made me bummed that it didn’t go over the right way, which pushed the Bears out of the playoffs.


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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.