Canandaigua native starts as GM for the Chicago Bears

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CHICAGO (AP/WHEC) — Canandaigua native Ryan Poles started his first day as Chicago Bears GM.

Poles was hired as Chicago’s general manager on Tuesday, almost 15 years after he signed with the team as an undrafted free agent and then failed to make the final roster. He already got his own "hype" video.

Poles spent the previous 13 seasons in the Chiefs’ front office, the past year as executive director of player personnel under general manager Brett Veach. He was the team’s director of college scouting in 2017 when Kansas City drafted Patrick Mahomes with the No. 10 overall pick — after Chicago took Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2.

“The Chicago Bears are one of the flagship franchises in the National Football League and are recognized as one of the most prestigious clubs in all of sports,” Poles said in a release. “It’s an honor for me to join such a well-regarded organization. Together with my family, I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running to help get this organization, its fanbase and the city what they deserve: a winning team and a Super Bowl trophy.”

The Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy after a 6-11 season, hoping new leadership will lift a struggling franchise. They brought in Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian to lead a five-person search team that also included chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips.

A big part of Poles’ job will be solidifying the quarterback position that has haunted the founding NFL franchise for decades.

That likely means figuring out a way to get the most out of Justin Fields and surrounding him with the talent to help him develop. The former Ohio State star had a shaky rookie season, though he also showed potential.

Turning around the franchise will be a big job. First up, he has to help the team settle on a coach after Nagy was let go.

The Bears announced later in the day that Poles had interviewed Jim Caldwell for the coaching job. Caldwell also talked to the organization about the position on Jan. 15.

Chicago has just seven playoff appearances in the past 30 years.

“We are thrilled to be able to add someone of Ryan’s background and football expertise to our organization,” McCaskey said in a release. “His accomplishments with the Chiefs speak for themselves and amplified the team’s standing as one of the premier franchises in professional sports. We are confident that under his leadership, we will reach our goal of bringing a Super Bowl championship to Chicago.”

Poles, 36, played offensive tackle at Boston College, where he blocked for longtime Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. He signed with the Bears in 2008, but he didn’t make the roster.

While a Canandaigua Brave in 2002, he was named New York State’s Gatorade Player of the Year.