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Saints praise Bears for landing Pace

The New Orleans Saints made it clear that they wanted to retain director of player personnel Ryan Pace. But when Pace was hired as Bears general manager Thursday, they offered him their best wishes.

The 37-year-old has spent the last 14 seasons with the Saints, including the past two years as director of player personnel. Prior to that, he served as an operations assistant (2001), scouting assistant (2002-03), pro scout (2004-06) and director of pro scouting (2007-12).

"We wish to congratulate the Chicago Bears on the hiring of Ryan Pace as their general manager," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said in a statement. "He has been an outstanding member of the New Orleans Saints organization for the past 15 years.

"He has progressed successfully from scouting assistant to pro scout to director of pro scouting and finally to director of player personnel, overseeing both college and pro personnel. He has been a key contributor in developing our roster throughout the past years.

"We will miss Ryan and his wife, Stephanie, however we are excited that they will be with an organization like the Chicago Bears, of which we have the highest regard."

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