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Spotlight on Bears GM Angelo unrelenting

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Dan Parr
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Posted Dec. 18, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has established a reputation for being thorough in his evaluations of background and character on rookies and veteran free agents.

However, Angelo has consistently said that character concerns are not necessarily going to keep him from taking a chance on a player with baggage that might lead other franchises to steer clear of the player. Angelo said just this past April in a pre-draft press conference that the Bears are "not looking for halo players. We're in a business to win football games."

The digging the Bears did on WR Sam Hurd — and Angelo said Friday that the Bears did their due diligence — apparently didn't yield any warning signs that Hurd had been under federal investigation before they signed him to a three-year deal in July. The news this past week of Hurd's arrest and the federal drug charges he's facing stunned the organization. The Bears waived Hurd on Friday, and Angelo defended the Bears' process of background checks, saying they had no idea and no way of knowing that Hurd was questioned by Homeland Security officials in Texas about $88,000 in cash and a marijuana plant that were seized from his car just before he signed with the Bears in July.

The Bears were not alone in being caught off guard by the news. His arrest shocked Hurd's previous employer, the Cowboys, as well, PFW has learned.

Angelo fired back at reporters Friday when he was asked if Hurd's arrest might have an impact on his future, dismissing the thought that it might, but Hurd's situation and other recent developments have done nothing to take any heat off Angelo, who downplayed reports last week that he is considering retiring after the season.

There were indications before Hurd's arrest that, in addition to injuries, undervaluing character, football intelligence and team chemistry had come back to bite the Bears at times this season. It's been apparent on the field in mental errors made by RB Marion Barber, and off it, as two of the team's more valuable players, QB Jay Cutler and RB Matt Forté, bickered with the coaching staff, in Cutler's case, and with the front office, in Forté's case, through the media earlier this season.

It has all added up to Angelo being put on the defensive while speculation about his future intensifies.

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