Jeff Ireland schedules interview for Bears general manager opening

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Here we go: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the Chicago Bears will interview Jeff Ireland on Friday for their open general manager job. Ireland, the New Orleans Saints assistant general manager and college scouting director, has been a huge part of the team’s success in recent years.

But this wouldn’t happen if the Saints weren’t comfortable letting Ireland go. They could have reorganized their front office to give Ireland the G.M. title he wants, boosting Mickey Loomis to a higher executive status, but the team obviously envisions a future without Ireland guiding their draft process.

So who could they have in mind to replace him? Maybe Ryan Pace, the fired Bears general manager Ireland could be replacing, who got his start in New Orleans. Pace worked as a pro-level scout before being promoted to director of player personnel, making him Ireland’s predecessor in some respects. But that would be a step back given how well the Saints have been drafting lately, and how poorly Pace’s Bears run turned out.

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