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Bears hire Ryan Poles as first African American General Manager in franchise history

In a recent announcement made via social media, the Chicago Bears hired former Kansas City Chiefs executive Ryan Poles as the club’s seventh general manager in franchise history.

Poles also made history on Tuesday, January 25, becoming the first African American GM in franchise history.

Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey said he was thrilled about the hire.

“We are thrilled to be able to add someone of Ryan’s background and football expertise to our organization,” said McCaskey.

“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, recently completed his 13th season with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021, and his first as the club’s Executive Director of Player Personnel.

Prior to last season Poles served for three seasons as the club’s Assistant Director of Player Personnel (2018-20), a season as the Director of College Scouting (2017), four seasons as the College Scouting Coordinator (2013-16) and three seasons as the College Scouting Administrator (2010-12). Poles originally joined the Chiefs in 2009 as the team’s Player Personnel Assistant.

During his 13 years in Kansas City the Chiefs captured one Super Bowl title, two AFC championships and seven AFC West division championships.

“I am extremely grateful to George, the McCaskey family and the rest of the Bears organization for this opportunity,” Poles said. “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. 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 fan base and the city what they deserve: a winning team and a Super Bowl trophy.”

According to the Chicago Bears, Poles oversaw all aspects of the college scouting across the country for the Chiefs while assisting with the pro personnel process and preparing for free agency. He also assisted General Manager Brett Veach with the coordination of the NFL Draft and overseeing the team’s out-of-town area scouts.

Poles was instrumental in helping the Chiefs land top draft prospects such as All-Pros Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. This past season the Chiefs tied for second in the NFL with six Pro Bowl selections in Mahomes, Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Orlando Brown, Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu, and tied for first in the NFL with seven selections in 2020. In total since 2009, the Chiefs have had 69 Pro Bowl selections with 28 different players.

Prior to joining the Chiefs, Poles served as a Recruiting Assistant for his alma mater, Boston College (2008-09), after signing with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2008.

The Canandaigua, N.Y., native played offensive tackle for five seasons for Boston College (2003-07), protecting current Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan.

Poles was honored with the Paul Cavanaugh Award in 2007 as the student-athlete with total commitment to football both on and off the field and for his dedication to volunteerism, ethics and community. He played his prep football at Canandaigua Academy in Canandaigua, N.Y.

Poles also was named to two “40 Under 40” lists in the past three years: Ingram’s Magazine in 2019 and by The Athletic in 2021.

Poles graduated from Boston College in 2007 with a degree in Communications. He and his wife, Katie, have two children: Mason and Jordyn.


Poles’ backstory reads like a made for TV movie. Back in 2008, Poles had dreams and aspirations to play professional football in the NFL but was cut by the Chicago Bears as an offensive lineman out of Boston College. Now with his playing career behind him, Poles’ dream came true on Tuesday, becoming the first ever African American general manager in franchise history for the league’s charter franchise.

Joseph G. Phillips

Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

Sports Editor at Chicago Crusader Newspaper | + posts

Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.

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