Bears general manager search suddenly in high gear

The Sports Xchange
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The Bears' search for a successor to fired general manager Jerry Angelo began on Monday, Jan. 16, 13 days after Angelo was dismissed, when Jason Licht, the Patriots' director of pro personnel, interviewed at Halas Hall.

Licht was followed the next day by Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye III, on Wednesday by Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross and on Thursday by Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery. And Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell is also still considered an internal candidate for the job and was in line to interview on Friday.

Licht (pronounced Light) has been in his current position for three years and is a 16-year veteran of the NFL. He rejoined the Patriots personnel department in 2009 after spending four seasons (1999-2002) as a college scout with the Patriots.

Licht served as a personnel executive for the NFC champion Arizona Cardinals in 2008 when they advanced to the Super Bowl, losing to the Steelers. He spent five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as their vice president of player personnel (2006-07) and assistant director of player personnel (2003-05).

Licht first joined the Patriots as a college scout in 1999 and in June 2001, he became the team's national scout, responsible for evaluating top college prospects and NFL players.

Raye, 43, currently oversees the Chargers' professional and college scouting departments and assists on player personnel matters. He joined the team in 1996 and spent four years (1996-99) as a scout and eight (2000-07) as director of college scouting before being promoted to his current position.

Raye's father, Jimmy Raye II, played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969 and spent 34 years as an NFL assistant coach, most recently with the San Francisco 49ers in 2010.

The younger Raye was a wide receiver at San Diego State (1986-90) and had a brief NFL career as a player. He spent the 1991 season on the Los Angeles Rams roster and was in training camp with the Chargers in '92 and the Houston Oilers in '93.

Raye spent the 1994 season as the wide receivers coach at Irvine High School, worked for Amsterdam of the World League in April '95 and then spent the NFL season as an offensive assistant-quality control coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Although general manager A.J. Smith has final say for the Chargers on draft day, Raye has been heavily involved as San Diego's director of player personnel since 2008 and before that as director of college scouting from 2001-07.

The 38-year-old Ross is in his fifth season as director of college scouting, and he has run the Giants' draft for the past four years. None of his 2011 picks starts for the Giants, but Ross' previous three No. 1 picks -- strong safety Kenny Phillips (2008), wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (2009) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (2010) -- are all major contributors.

Ross became the NFL's youngest college scouting director when he was named to that post with the Philadelphia Eagles as a 27 year old in 2000. He was an all-Ivy League wide receiver at Princeton in 1993 and '94.

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