Jerry Angelo, in charge of the Bears football operations since 2001, was told by President Ted Phillips Tuesday morning that he would not be returning as the teams general manager, according to a statement released by the team.
Phillips hired Angelo nearly 11 years ago to replace Mark Hatley and installed Angelo as the GM, the first to hold that title since Jerry Vainisi.
The abrupt move, after statements and indications over recent weeks that Angelo would return for at least the 2012 season, suggests a sudden rupture point, perhaps over personnel or coaching changes.
It also, according to NFL sources, pointed to a strong presence of George McCaskey in his first year as Bears chairman. The Bears had won four division titles under Angelo, gone to two NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.
Immediate speculation regarding a successor centered on Bill Polian, ousted Monday as head of football with the Indianapolis Colts.
Polians work has been highly regarded by the McCaskeys since his days under Ralph Wilson with the Buffalo Bills and with the Irsays in Indianapolis. Polian also directed the successful launch of the Carolina Panthers as an expansion team in 1995.
Angelo said prior to the Denver game that he was not going anywhere and he already had begun plans for the 2012 offseason, to the point of specifics on position needs, how monies could be allocated for free agents and other elements.