Training camp is still almost a month away for the Chicago Bears. This is the time of year when almost nothing happens for a football team. That is why when something does happen, it tends to stick out more than it usually would. That became the case for the team this past week. It was revealed by Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that the team had fired LaMar Campbell, their Director of Player Engagement.
Those who have followed the team closely should realize this decision’s unusual. The man affectionately known as “Soup” was universally liked and respected in the Bears’ locker room since his arrival in 2015. He had the job of connecting with players, helping them learn how to balance their professional and personal lives, and making long-term plans for their futures. He was so trusted inside Halas Hall that George McCaskey made him part of the team’s search committee for a new GM and head coach.
Now Ryan Poles, the man he signed off on, has sent him packing.
The #Bears fired director of player engagement LaMar "Soup" Campbell. You may recognize his name as one of the members of the committee the team assembled in the hiring process for a new GM/coach.
GM Ryan Poles called Campbell, who was out of town on vacation, and dismissed him.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) July 1, 2022
On the surface, this comes across as a somewhat insensitive move. Firing the guy is one thing but doing so on his vacation seems a bit ruthless. Poles has complete control of the football operations. McCaskey gave him full autonomy to reshape things how he saw fit. He’s already expanded the analytics division of the organization and modernized the strength and conditioning staff. Several people hired by former GM Ryan Pace have been dismissed.
By that logic, it’s not a total surprise Campbell is out. Maybe Poles wants to bring in his own guy. That is fair. It is the timing of this decision that is odd. If the GM knew he wanted to replace Campbell, why wait until the middle of summer when there will be almost no job openings available to the man?
Campbell decision feels forced by Chicago Bears.
It is impossible to know without more details. Still, this timing leads one to wonder if more happened behind the scenes we don’t know about. Campbell might’ve gotten himself in trouble. Maybe he and Poles had a confrontation behind the scenes. It is difficult to feel like this move was planned months ago. A team doesn’t fire a guy this time of year while he’s on vacation without an apparent reason.
There is no way to be certain right now. All anybody can say is that Campbell’s firing is a definite shock. His good standing with the McCaskeys made his position in the organization feel secure. Poles wouldn’t fire the guy who had a hand securing his dream job. They were wrong. Either the new GM is even more cutthroat than people thought, or he had unforeseen reasons to make the move.
Perhaps more information will surface in the coming days.
Until then, there is only speculation. The best answer to go with is Poles wanted somebody he knew and trusted in that position. Maybe whoever the replacement ends up being will shed some light on why this happened.