Back in December, when buzz kicked up about the Bears doing homework on potential GM replacements, there was a nugget from NBC Sports Chicago insider Adam Hoge noting the team was “gauging back-channel interest from at least one college scouting director employed by another club.”
And while I’m not saying Jeff Ireland was that guy, but *points to Ireland’s title with the Saints* it felt easy to connect some dots.
Soon, Ireland could get an opportunity to complete the dot-connecting process:
Bears requested permission to interview Saints’ assistant GM Jeff Ireland for their GM job, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 11, 2022
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Bears are asking for permission to interview Ireland for the team’s GM vacancy. Ireland currently serves as the Saints’ VP/Assistant GM in charge of college personnel. And with a recent run of strong drafting is on his résumé, it makes him a noteworthy candidate.
Ireland gets credit for being a driving force in team-building through the draft. The Saints nailing a those drafts did well to extend the team’s competitive window, and keeping it open as Drew Brees’ arm talent was declining in his later years is praiseworthy. Seriously. That’s pretty impressive. Ireland also has prior GM experience from his time with the Dolphins from 2008-13. So if the Bears are looking for someone with experience and a second chance, Ireland makes sense as a candidate.
As is the case with many of the candidates we’ll come across, there is something in his background that requires additional attention. In some cases, it will be more sensitive than others, even if well-publicized. For example, with Ireland, there was the pre-draft incident with Dez Bryant, which ultimately resulted in Ireland apologizing to Bryant for asking whether his mother was a prostitute. That was a big deal when it happened. Not only is that an ugly moment in the bio, it’s one Ireland should have to address with the Bears once his part of the interview process begins. If Ireland is truly contrite and has changed for the better, then it will be easier to go through with him as a candidate. Otherwise, no thanks. There are other candidates with less baggage. And perhaps more upside.
Nevertheless, Ireland – whose grandfather was a Bears scout in the 1980s, per the Palm Beach Post – is a name to keep tabs on as this process continues.