7 things we learned from Bears, Kevin Warren press conference

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

7 things we learned from Bears, Warren press conference originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

During his introductory press conference with the Bears, newly hired president Kevin Warren came with strong ideas, experiences and talking points.

He was asked about a slew of tasks he will take endure during his tenure with the Bears. Mainly, his project will surround the construction of a stadium at Arlington Park, as a new home for the Chicago Bears.

As Warren and the media hashed through a multitude of subjects, here are the main points to remember about the Bears' newest president:

Warren is the Bears' first black CEO/President

The Bears have had four presidents in their history as an organization. George Halas, George Halas Jr., Michael McCaskey and Ted Phillips. All are from either the descent of Halas or have worked within the organization before becoming president.

Warren is the first true outside hire for the organization. Before he received the job, he was the Big Ten commissioner. Before that, he worked in the NFL for 22 years as an agent and an executive with the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are major beliefs of Warren.

"I didn't go to a boarding school, I didn't go to private schools or whatever," Warren said. "I went to public schools and high school, and I just think it's an opportunity to really grind it out. That's what it comes down to. But we have to give people an opportunity. We started a program at the Big Ten called the Taliaferro Fellows, named after George Taliaferro, who was the first Black player in the Big Ten drafted, just to give people an opportunity and to grow and learn."

He has a memorable drive and determination

Most who attended his press conference would likely agree that Warren's presence emulated a breath of fresh air.

He wasn't afraid to speak candidly about what and where he thinks the Bears should take their organizational direction. He spoke with confidence and intent. NBC Sports Chicago's Josh Schrock wrote "he was polished, sharp, slick, and brought a vision and enthusiasm to a place long chastised for its lack of direction."

“I think the biggest thing is confidence and … making people understand that it’s OK for us to be comfortable talking about being great,” Warren said. “Because there are a lot of people that are fearful about that, even in their lives.”

MORE: Warren's home run press conference signals new day for Bears

Warren has stadium experience and a plan of attack

Warren's experience in developing U.S. Bank Stadium is an attractive point from his résumé. It's one of the main reasons the Bears hired him, to begin with.

He helped construct one of the most iconic stadiums in today's NFL, and do so on time and under budget. Chairman George McCaskey mentioned those two items as reasons he admires U.S. Bank Stadium.

Moreover, Warren has a plan. He mentioned he kept the "binders and folders" he used while building the stadium for safe keep. He also sees Arlington Park as an overwhelmingly positive opportunity for the Bears, mentioning its size and proximity to the city as a rarity. Planning will be vital, according to Warren.

"I think the biggest thing I learned was the fact that you need to plan before you start digging," Warren said on Tuesday. "And I think what made and makes U.S. Bank Stadium so special, we spent almost a year in planning and planning is critical. And that's what I appreciate about the McCaskey's is –  they support the planning process. I think that will be really critical from that standpoint.

MORE: Warren shares U.S. Bank Stadium experience for Bears
MORE: Bears' new CEO Kevin Warren reveals thoughts on new stadium

Warren attended a Bears game and visited Arlington Park

The Bears president did his homework.

Not only did Warren attend the Bears-Eagles regular season game to gain the experience of a fan, but he also visited Arlington Park to get a feel for the 326-acre land the Bears plan to close on.

Warren was excited to see the Bears' players' intensity up close. He was quick to mention the energy exuding from the field, and admired the way Bears players hustle to plays and exerted full energy on each play.

MORE: Warren attended Bears game as a fan for experience

Bears plan to close on Arlington Park this quarter

During the fall, the Bears secured a purchase agreement just south of $200 million with Churchill Downs Inc. to buy the 326-acre land at Arlington Park. However, they have yet to officially close on the land.

The goal for the Bears was to close on the land before current president Ted Phillips retired, which was supposed to be directly after this Bears' season. Now, they've admitted they plan to close on the land this quarter before transitioning the title of CEO/President to Warren.

MORE: Bears intend to close on Arlington Park this quarter

Warren detailed the working relationship between him and Ryan Poles

Warren will act as a "sounding board" to general manager Ryan Poles when it comes to mixing business with football operations. Both detailed the benefits of using each other for advice and guidance when it pertained to their tasks.

But, the "collaboration" between the two isn't meant to push the other off their seat in decision-making. Simply, using each other for guidance and advice.

“The collaboration piece, being a sounding board that’s been through things before,” Poles said Tuesday when asked how Warren can help him. “There is the collaboration between business and football. That’s a really special place where if you can hit it the right way, there’s a lot of cool things that can happen. I know some teams have gotten in trouble crossing the line where it’s too much on either side, like, ‘No, stay out of my space,’ and that’s not going to work.

MORE: How Warren-Poles relationship will shape Bears' football plans

Warren has a relationship with Justin Fields

Back in 2020, Warren decided to cancel Big Ten football amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Justin Fields, then quarterback at Ohio State, disagreed, and supported a petition to help resume football in the Big Ten.

Eventually, Fields and the petition won, and Big Ten football resumed in October of 2020. However, Warren assured there is no bad blood between the two Big Ten connoisseurs. Warren called him to congratulate him on draft night when the Bears selected him in 2021 and visited him in the locker room while at the Bears-Vikings game in Minnesota this season.

MORE: Warren: 'Strong personal relationship' with Fields 

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.