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updated: 2/5/2013 1:21 PM

Hester just another part of Bears' culture change

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  • Devin Hester wants a fresh start, and it's the right time for the Bears to give him one.

      Devin Hester wants a fresh start, and it's the right time for the Bears to give him one.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

Devin Hester indicated in a published report over the weekend that he needs a fresh start away from Chicago.

OK, see ya!

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In related news, Nazr Mohammed told the Bulls to play me or trade me and Alfonso Soriano says he is demanding a contract extension from the Cubs.

Seriously, does Hester really think he has any leverage in this matter?

Come to think of it, maybe he does. The Bears might as well send him to, say, Jacksonville for all the good he has done them in recent years.

So, yeah, see ya!

Bears general manager Phil Emery is in the process of changing the Bears' culture, and this would send a message toward that end. He could get rid of Hester to say, fine, we only want players here who are fully committed to being here.

Make no mistake about it: This is more revolution than evolution at Halas Hall in an effort to join the 49ers, Packers and the rest of the NFC elite. Dumping Hester would be a big bang but sometimes the quietest shots resound the loudest.

The Bears fired a couple of cannonballs recently by dismissing head coach Lovie Smith and replacing him with Marc Trestman. If Emery released some of the personnel evaluators he inherited, that would be another blast.

But the spitballs -- like replacing strength coach Rusty Jones with Mike Clark -- also say a lot and maybe say even more. That move screamed that the Bears' makeover permeates all levels of the football operation.

The movement began two years ago when George McCaskey succeeded Mike McCaskey as Bears chairman. It proceeded toward G-Mac replacing general manager Jerry Angelo with Emery last year and Emery replacing Smith with Trestman last month.

Those were big splashes. Clark for Jones is the little ripple that made this begin to look similar to what occurred in 1974 when the Bears were a mess from the field to the player personnel, public relations and marketing departments.

Mugs Halas, Papa Bear Halas' son and successor as Bears president, recognized how behind the rest of the NFL the franchise had plunged. He hired Jim Finks, the former Vikings general manager, to bring the Bears' organization into the 20th century.

That was the model for Rocky Wirtz hiring John McDonough to update the Blackhawks and Tom Ricketts hiring Theo Epstein to update the Cubs' baseball operations.

McDonough had to do what Finks did with the Bears, change the culture of the entire franchise. Emery has to do pretty much what Epstein is doing in baseball, change the culture of only the football department.

Exchanging Jones for Clark seems minor except that it symbolizes how intent the Bears are on entering the 21st century.

Angelo wasn't a horrible general manager any more than Smith was a terrible head coach. They had to go because their mediocre Bears tenures had become old, tired and stale. Too many of the same ways were leading to the same middling results.

A new chairman with new ideas had to hire a new general manager with new ideas, and the new GM with new ideas had to hire a new head coach with new ideas, and together they even had to hire a new strength coach with new ideas in harmony with theirs.

The moves since the 2012 season ended already delivered a new energy and enthusiasm. The atmosphere isn't unlike what Halas-Finks, Wirtz-McDonough and Ricketts-Epstein instilled in their respective franchises.

Change isn't necessarily progress but sometimes it's necessary because the status quo isn't working.

So, Devin, see ya!

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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