Imrem: Mood mixed, but hope returns to Halas Pall

Monday was just another morning at Halas Pall.

OK, not really.

The Bears announced they fired general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman.

The myriad cameras, moving and still, were as good an indication as anything could be that this was big stuff.

Also in the house were reporters and columnists, local and national, from sports side and news side, eager to chronicle every burp and belch.

Trestman issued a statement thanking the McCaskey ownership for the opportunity to be an NFL head coach.

Emery expressed the same sentiment in person, striding into the interview room, carrying a notepad and positioning his signature eyeglasses.

Emery spoke briefly, agreeing with the rest of the Chicago area that it was time for change and to move forward.

“Go Bears,” he said.

Emery didn't take questions, a departure for someone who seemed to love explaining this, that and everything during periodic news conferences.

After hearing Emery the last three years outline why he did something, you felt like you could assemble a wristwatch and still have enough knowledge left over to build a Prius.

Not this time, though.

Emery simply walked away, perhaps with Trestman, with collapsed buildings and overturned automobiles and scorched fields behind them.

The mood inside Halas, uh, Hall was mixed: Sad that it had to come to this in so short a time and glad that it finally had come to this.

“It's always heartbreaking,” Bears' cornerback Tim Jennings said, who had just heard a coach say goodbye for the second time in three years.

But heartbreaking?

Maybe a little disconcerting for Bears players who endured the inconvenience of the past three years but thrilling for season-ticket holders who paid for the hardship.

How long they'll be thrilled depends on what's next, who the next general manager is and who the next head coach is, whether Jay Cutler remains a part of the package.

The firing always is the easy part; the hiring always is the difficult part.

But now there is hope for a fresh start with men better at what they do than the previous men were at what they did.

Never mind that it rarely turns out that way for the Bears and that the real problem has been the McCaskey ownership, which hired the GMs who hired the coaches who have failed to turn the Bears into the Packers or Patriots.

This time, though, the high cost in contractual obligations seems to signal that the owners understand that change must be major rather than minor.

The old model didn't work. A new one has to be created inside the offices of Halas Hall. Imaginations have to run wild.

Not the kind of imagination that prompted Emery to hire Trestman out of the Canadian Football League.

More like the imagination to snatch a new general manager away from a successful team and for him to snatch a new head coach away from a successful team.

They can be familiar names and obvious choices or unfamiliar names and odd choices as long as they are the right choices at the right time.

The next GM and coach have to be football men with a football vision that restores the Bears' identity as Monsters of the Midway.

That and only that will keep a wisecracking newspaper guy from referring to Halas Hall as Halas Pall again in a couple years.

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