Bears on the clock to find new general manager
It's never too soon to connect the dots in the coaching/general manager merry-go-round currently spinning in the NFL postseason, especially with six days to kill between playoff games.
Aside from the fact that Kansas City Chiefs' director of pro personnel Chris Ballard is scheduled to interview for the Bears' GM job Wednesday, and that he has a familiarity with personnel at Halas Hall, there are other indications that he could be the front-runner for the job.
Ballard on Monday declined a request from the New York Jets to interview for their GM job, not surprising given his 12 years in the Bears' scouting department. For 11 years, starting in 2001, Ballard was the team's area scout in the Southwest, and in his final year (2012) was promoted to director of pro scouting.
As a major player in the Chiefs' massive personnel turnover, Ballard helped resurrect the franchise after a 2-14 finish in 2012, the year before he arrived. The Chiefs made the playoffs the following season with an 11-5 record. They were 9-7 this season, just missing the playoffs.
Ballard played quarterback and wide receiver at Wisconsin and was a coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville, working on both sides of the ball and eventually moving up to defensive coordinator.
The Bears also are scheduled Tuesday to interview Lake Dawson, Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel. Before he was promoted to his current position in 2011, Dawson was the Titans' director of pro personnel for four years.
The 43-year-old former Notre Dame wide receiver was a third-round pick of the Chiefs in 1994 and had NFL career totals of 103 receptions for 1,406 yards (13.7-yard average) and 10 touchdowns.
Dawson makes the Bears compliant with the NFL's Rooney Rule that requires teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head-coaching and senior football operations jobs. Dawson interviewed for GM jobs last year with Miami and Tampa Bay.
The Bears also are scheduled later in the week to interview Houston director of pro personnel Brian Gaine, who just completed his first season there. Before joining the Texans, Gaine was with the Dolphins for six years, eventually becoming assistant general manager underneath GM Jeff Ireland, but both were fired after the 2013 season.
The Bears would like to get their GM position filled before they decide on a head coach, although they already have begun preliminary interviews for that position. Last Friday they interviewed Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and a day later met with Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.
They have an interview scheduled with Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Saturday.
Bowles is scheduled to interview with the Jets (Wednesday), Atlanta Falcons (Thursday) and San Francisco 49ers (Friday) before he meets with the Bears.
The Bears would like to have their general manager in place by the time they interview Bowles.
• Follow Bob's Bears and NFL reports on Twitter@BobLeGere.