At some point its a safe story to write, that Bears GM Jerry Angelo is going to retire. Thats what 60-somethings talk about and do at some point in the natural order of things (just trust me on this one).
But barring a monumental shift of Halas Hall thinking, Angelo will not be leaving after this season. That was subtly apparent in comments the GM made in Denver about making a run at a championship in 2012 and has become even clearer from conversations with various sources within the organization.
Two main indicators:
One is the next year thinking that already is underway and has been for some time. To cite precedent here: At the end of a miserable stretch of an injury-marred 1997, then-coach Dave Wannstedt told confidants that he knew he was being brought back for the 1998 season because of late-season meetings and discussions with President and CEO Michael McCaskey that dealt with the plans for 98.
Michael McCaskey is no longer running the Bears but Angelo is deeply involved in the 2012 planning. A lame-duck would not be.
And two, Angelos relationship with new Chairman George McCaskey is excellent, not something to be taken lightly. Angelo holds McCaskey in high regard, and McCaskey has quietly changed the culture within the Bears, with numerous examples of little things that have made impressions on Angelo and others top to bottom in the organization.
McCaskey has moved his office next to Angelos and takes an active chairman role without being a meddler. Where Michael once served as his own de facto GM, critiquing film on Mondays with Wannstedt, George does none of that but has made clear mission statements about the importance of winning, something that was given lip service in times past. No one is taking them as that now.
Angelo has gotten the Bears their franchise quarterback (Jay Cutler) and defensive lineman (Julius Peppers). He will be given the resources for significant moves again this year, as well discuss later this week.
If those dont work out, then therell be reason for discussion, because George McCaskey is serious about winning. But for now, the course is laid in.