NFL Hot Press: Bears Should Hire Alonzo Highsmith as General Manager

Bears Should Hire Alonzo Highsmith as General Manager

Updated Dec. 29, 2014
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

After a disappointing season, the Chicago Bears cleaned house by firing general manager Phil Emery and head coach Marc Trestman (go here for all of the Black Monday Firing Grades). Once again, Chicago is looking up at rival Green Bay atop the NFC North. The organization will start its search for new leadership, and it would make sense to go to its rivals for a general manager to change things in Chicago.

Packers’ senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith is the right-hand man for general manager Ted Thompson. Highsmith helped the Packers to their string of six straight playoff appearances and a Super Bowl Championship in 2010.

Numerous sources we’ve spoken to around the league believe Highsmith would be a great choice as the Bears’ general manager and could engineer a quick turnaround for Chicago. Highsmith knows the Bears well as a division rival and also would give Chicago an intimate knowledge of their top competitor in the NFC North that the Bears must find a way to beat. Highsmith knows the strengths and weaknesses of both Chicago and Green Bay.

Executives from around the league say that Highsmith has a great eye for talent, works tirelessly, and is especially good at scouting quarterbacks. Highsmith has played with and has been a part of teams with great quarterbacks, going back to playing with Mike Shula in high school, as well as Bernie Kosar and Vinny Testaverde in college at the University of Miami. Highsmith played with Warren Moon and Troy Aikman in the NFL, while being part of Brett Favre’s tenure in Green Bay, and was part of the Packers drafting and developing Aaron Rodgers. Figuring out what to do with embattled starter Jay Cutler will be a critical decision for the new Bears’ general manager, and Highsmith is a perfect candidate to tackle that job.

Highsmith has learned under some of the best general managers in the NFL over the past 15 years in Ron Wolf and Thompson, so he’s ready to lead a franchise as the general manager. He also learned from coaching greats in Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Don Shula, and his father, Walter Highsmith.

As a running back, Highsmith starred at the University of Miami before playing for the Oilers, Cowboys and Buccaneers. After his NFL career, Highsmith was a professional boxer and compiled a 27-1-1 record in his pugilist career. Highsmith was hired by then-Packers Executive Vice President/General Manager Ron Wolf in 1999 to be a college scout for Green Bay. After serving as an area scout for many years, Highsmith was promoted to his current spot in 2012. Working closely with Thompson has given Highsmith a perfect position to prepare for running a franchise.

Sources say that Highsmith has a tremendous work ethic from his time as a player, professional boxer, and area scout. Given his background, he works very well with NFL players and is able to identify with them. With his personal and organizational leadership skills, he can get a franchise working in one direction from the front office into the locker room. Everything he does at Green Bay is about winning as an organization, and sources believe he will build that kind of atmosphere in any team that hires him as its general manager.

Highsmith could also be a candidate for the opening with the New York Jets, so if the Bears want to land Highsmith, they should move quickly to steal a top executive from their biggest division rival.

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