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Chicago Bears could hire Big 10 Commissioner Kevin Warren as next CEO

The Chicago Bears are in the midst of a search to replace current president and CEO Ted Phillips who has been with the organization over the past four decades.

Phillips announced his retirement, effective in February, after serving as just the fourth president in Bears history. It’s a rare shake up in the power hierarchy within the downtrodden franchise.

It also now looks like the Bears are close to hiring a highly respected individual to oversee general manager Ryan Poles and Co.

According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Big 10 Commissioner Kevin Warren has emerged as the top candidate to replace Phillips as the Bears’ president and CEO.

Related: Chicago Bears schedule and game-by-game predictions

“Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren has emerged as a top candidate to be the next President/CEO of the Chicago Bears. He’s interviewed in person for the job and is considered among the final candidates. The process is expected to wrap up in the upcoming weeks.”

Report on the Chicago Bears zeroing in on Kevin Warren

Despite his status as the Big 10 Commissioner since 2020, Warren has a wealth of experience in NFL front offices dating back a quarter-century.

  • St. Louis Rams: Vice president of player programs & football legal counsel (1997-1999)
  • St. Louis Rams: Vice president of football administration (2000)
  • Detroit Lions: Senior vice president of business operations & general counsel (2001-03)
  • Minnesota Vikings: Executive vice president of legal affairs & chief administrative officer (2005-14)
  • Minnesota Vikings: Chief operating officer (2015-19)

This would obviously be a rather big get for a downtrodden Chicago Bears organization that’s 3-12 on the season and has earned all of two playoff appearances since 2010 with zero postseason wins during that span.

As for Warren and whether he is about to trade in his gig in the Big 10 to run an NFL franchise, the conference released a statement after Thursday’s report became public record.

“Over the course of three decades in professional and collegiate sports, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren regularly receives unique opportunities and requests for his expertise from leaders across a variety of industries ranging from professional sports ownership groups to private equity firms.”

Big 10 statement on Chicago Bears, Kevin Warren report

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Notre Dame, Mr. Warren is a highly respected individual around the sports world. Prior to making the transition, he taught at Notre Dame and ran his own sports and entertainment agency.

If the Chicago Bears were to hire Warren, he’d become just the third African-American President and first African-American CEO currently serving in the NFL.