A few hours before the start of the draft last Thursday, a lone figure was spotted walking around the expansive Halas Hall practice fields, enjoying the mild weather.
A closer look revealed that it was none other than general manager Ryan Poles, who spent about 90 minutes circling the campus alone with his thoughts.
"Fresh air's good to get when you're sitting in that [draft] room for as many hours as we do," Poles told ChicagoBears.com. "There are no windows in there, so it's just good to be outside.
"In terms of clarity, it's good to get away from everything. I really don't want to watch any tape when the draft starts. That's been done. I don't want it to start clouding my mind. Just kind of getting away and getting quiet time I feel is important."
Poles was able to enjoy the calm before the storm because the Bears were already well-prepared for the draft.
"The beautiful thing about our process is that we kind of ironed everything out before we even really got to Wednesday," Poles said. "Last year we were meeting up until Thursday morning. This year the hay was in the barn, and we felt really good about it. We felt like this year's process was even more efficient than what it was before."
That efficiency enabled Poles to continue a tradition that he started about a decade ago when he worked for the Chiefs: playing golf with his colleagues the day before the draft. For the second straight year, Poles hit the links with assistant general manager Ian Cunningham and co-directors of player personnel Trey Koziol and Jeff King.
"I always try to get out and play golf the day before the draft," Poles said, "again, just to be outside, have clarity, have a good conversation, but also have a little bit of fun because we spend so much time grinding. It's good to relax and do something we all enjoy doing."