The Other Side of the Tim Ruskell as Bears GM Candidate Discussion
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Call it guilt by association. Call it death by Jerry Angelo. Whatever you’d like to call it, most Bears fans have dismissed the idea of promoting Tim Ruskell from his role as assistant to the traveling secretary or whatever his current title is to General Manager of the Chicago Bears. Not so fast, says Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun Times. Ruskell has some positive things to put on his resume besides the fallout in Seattle that reunited him with his buddy Jerry Angelo in Chicago. Some of the highlights, after the jump.
- Ruskell was the scouting director with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And not the creamsicle Bucs; the Super Bowl Championship Bucs. Yes, he has a ring.
- Ruskell helped turn the Atlanta Falcons around, taking them from a 5-11 team to NFC South Champs.
- His most notable move was being hired as president of football operations and GM of the Seahawks in 2005. Let’s go block quote from Sean’s column for the highs of lows in Seattle:
"He was then hired as president of football operations and general manager of the Seahawks before the 2005 season.Owner Paul Allen — the co-founder of Microsoft — created a less-than-ideal working environment for his football staff. Mike Holmgren, who led the Green Bay Packers to two Super Bowls, including a victory, was hired as the Seahawks’ executive vice president/general manager and coach in 1998. He had full authority on all personnel decisions.But he was stripped of that power the year before Ruskell was brought onboard.Two sources said Ruskell immediately cleaned up the organization, parting ways with character-challenged players such as wide receiver Koren Robinson.In 2005, the Seahawks drafted two linebackers who quickly upgraded a defense that had ranked 26th in yards. Leroy Hill, a third-round selection, contributed 7½ sacks, and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu headed to the Pro Bowl as a rookie. They also signed veteran receiver Joe Jurevicius, who had a career-high 10 touchdowns that season.The Seahawks were seventh in points allowed, and the offense ranked second in the NFL.Seattle, 9-7 in 2004, went 13-3, won the NFC West and reached Super Bowl XL, where it was defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers.The high, though, was temporary.The Seahawks were adversely affected by two decisions the following offseason. First, they rewarded running back Shaun Alexander — the reigning MVP — with an eight-year contract that included $15 million in guarantees. Second, they put a transition tag on perennial All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson, and the Minnesota Vikings used the infamous “poison pill” to ensure the Seahawks couldn’t match their lucrative contract offer.The Seahawks, though, claimed the NFC West in 2006 and 2007, and they at least reached the divisional playoff round both times.By 2007, tension between Holm-gren and Ruskell came to a head, and defensive end Jason Babin was one of the players caught in the middle, Babin said last month.Ruskell shipped safety Michael Boulware to the Houston Texans and acquired Babin, a 2004 first-round pick.Babin couldn’t get out of Holm-gren’s doghouse and appeared in only four games in two seasons with the Seahawks. In 2010 and ’11 , Babin was picked for the Pro Bowl and totaled 30½ sacks."
Thanks to Sean for a great piece and an interesting read. It helped me get to know a little more about Ruskell than just Jerry’s buddy who screwed things up in Seattle. But with that, I’m mentally preparing myself for the Ruskell promotion. It’s no coincidence that these kinds of propaganda pieces start making their way into the local papers. Like the Corleone family, the Bears have “guys” at the papers. They will start the brainwashing process and try to get some people to buy in, bring in a couple of token candidates and finally announce a presser to offer you Tim Ruskell. It’s such a Bears thing to do; it’s such a McCaskey thing to do. Get ready, it’s coming.