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Bears' Cunningham honored to participate in GM Forum

Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham
Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham

Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham was among those who spoke at the second annual Ozzie Newsome General Manager Forum this week in Los Angeles.

In partnership with the Black College Football Hall of Fame, the NFL hosted the General Manager Forum Tuesday as well as the Quarterback Coach Summit Wednesday and Thursday.

It was extra special for Cunningham to participate given his relationship with Newsome. A highly successful NFL executive with the Ravens, Newsome hired Cunningham in Baltimore in 2008 as a player personnel assistant and promoted him to area scout in 2013. Newsome taught Cunningham how to evaluate talent. Every day after the league's waiver wire was released, Cunningham would walk into Newsome's office to shift player magnets based on the transactions—and talk scouting.

"It was a tremendous honor, just having it named for Ozzie and what Ozzie has meant to me as a mentor, father figure and friend," Cunningham said. "It was just an honor to be present, let alone speak. I'm thankful that I was a part of it and was able to contribute and give back."

Both the Forum and the Summit aim to help the NFL build a diverse pipeline of front office and coaching candidates. Insight at the three-day event came directly from quarterback coaches, offensive coordinators, head coaches and general managers. The programs provide a platform to help prepare, educate and identify quality minority candidates across the league. 

Both the Forum and the Summit featured a variety of sessions, including how to build a coaching staff, position coach roles, analytics and how to prepare for interview sessions. There were also sessions hosted by club ownership, including one about the process of selecting a head coach and general manager. 

"The main purpose of the event is really for us to teach one another," said Cunningham, who spoke about how to prepare for an assistant GM interview. "We had a lot of great speakers that spoke on a lot of different topics, and it was all coming from peers. We were there to teach and educate each other."