Attending the NFL Combine presents an excellent opportunity to hear from individuals who worked with Bears executives, coaches and players before they arrived in Chicago. Here's some of that insight:
Ryan Poles' former boss in Kansas City is convinced that Poles will succeed as Bears general manager.
"He's well-versed, [and] he's done a lot in his career in regard to both scouting on the college and pro side," said Chiefs general manager Brett Veach. "With that, he's a tremendous communicator. He understands the inner workings of a personnel department and a coaching staff."
Poles was hired by the Bears Jan. 25 after spending the last 13 seasons working with the Chiefs as a player personnel assistant (2009), college scouting administrator (2010-12), college scouting coordinator (2013-16), director of college scouting (2017), assistant director of player personnel (2018-20) and executive director of player personnel (2021).
Veach worked with Poles the past nine years in Kansas City serving as a pro and college personnel analyst (2013-14) and co-director of player personnel (2015-16) before being promoted to general manager in 2017.
Since 2016, the Chiefs have won six straight AFC West championships, two conference titles and one Super Bowl.
"I think one of the things that potentially separates our organization from others is just the level of trust and the level of communication we have," Veach said. "That certainly has to do with the relationship that coach [Andy Reid] and I have, but Ryan had a first-hand seat to that. He knows how important that level of trust and communication is.
"I think he'll do a great job because he's one of those guys that he's confident in his opinions, but he also doesn't have an ego where he's not going to listen or take in information. So I think he'll do a tremendous job."
One thing Veach learned when he first became a general manager is that he needed to rely on his staff because his time is often spent dealing with unforeseen situations. It seems that Poles prepared for that by hiring Ian Cunningham as assistant general manager, the first time the Bears have ever had an individual in that position.
"It's the late-night phone calls," Veach said. "You love to evaluate talent and you love to put a roster together. But it's like all the stories you hear—whether you were to ask a head coach that or a GM that—it's a lot more than just watching tape, putting a roster together or trying to work with your cap guys on the salary.
"There's a lot of stress off the field. Players go through a lot. Their families go through a lot. Our families go through a lot. It's one thing in your mind to think, 'Well, that will come up and we'll deal with it.' But it's intense. It pulls you away a lot of times from the office, so you have to have a great staff. Ryan was part of that staff that helped take some of the burden off me. I think the thing that's most challenging for a GM is all the things you don't expect; sometimes the things that you're not thinking about are the things that occupy most of your time."
LaFleur raves about Getsy
After working together in Green Bay since becoming Packers coach in 2019, Matt LaFleur is going to miss new Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy.
Getsy arrives in Chicago after spending the past three seasons as Green Bay's quarterbacks coach while also serving as passing game coordinator in 2020-21. During that span, the Packers won three straight NFC North titles with records of 13-3, 13-3 and 13-4.
Asked about what Getsy will bring to the Bears, LaFleur said: "It all starts with the type of person that you're getting. He's a super loyal dude, great family man, cares about everybody he's around—his players feel that—he's extremely detailed, a really hard worker, always brings great ideas to the table, a great communicator.
"He brings a lot of energy and certainly we're going to miss him. I think Chicago definitely got a real guy down there and I think it's a matter of time before he's standing up at this podium as a head coach."
Montgomery helped create culture at Iowa State
When draft-eligible quarterback Brock Purdy was a true freshman at Iowa State in 2018, he said that Bears running back David Montgomery "showed everybody in the program and myself how to work."
"I don't know if I've met anybody with a work ethic like David Montgomery," said Purdy, a four-year starter for the Cyclones. "Since Day 1 when I got there on campus in June, this guy was in the treatment room longer than anybody. He was out on the field doing work at night and weekends. And then, obviously, the film study was awesome."
While Purdy arrived in Ames, Iowa in 2018, Montgomery was in his final year at Iowa State.
"He was a guy that just took me in," Purdy said. "He didn't talk a lot, but he showed everybody through his actions. I respected him for that. I still respect him to this day … love David and respect his work ethic more than anything."