Kevin Warren hasn’t even been at his new job for two months, but it’s already clear that things are going to be different under his tenure.
When Ted Phillips was President, you really only saw him once a year, and that was at the year-end press conferences in January. You certainly didn’t see Phillips anywhere near Football Operations. Phillips didn’t have many defenders, but those who were in his corner would always defend him the same way. “That’s not Ted’s job. Ted is a businessman.”
To those of us who criticized Phillips, that was the problem. The President needed to oversee the entire operation. He certainly didn’t need to be involved in the day-to-day operation and be in coach and player meetings, but he certainly needed to oversee the operation. After all, how can he assess the job of the General Manager if he isn’t paying attention to the job he’s doing?
Kevin Warren is going to run things very differently because it’s already clear that he is going to be quite involved in football operations.
It started at the NFL Draft. If you watched any of the videos the Chicago Bears put out, Warren was in the war room with Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus. He made the calls welcoming the draft picks to the team. As you can see here with Zacch Pickens.
You did it, @ZP6DT pic.twitter.com/hDlPJqyJwQ— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 2, 2023
Following that, Warren had his presence felt at rookie minicamp. He was with Ryan Poles watching the new class workout for the first time at Halas Hall.
The positive optics Warren is bringing to the team go beyond official business. Because we’ve also seen Kevin Warren at both the graduations of Justin Fields and Cole Kmet.
Here’s Warren with the Bears’ franchise quarterback:
That’s our QB— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 7, 2023
Congrats, @justnfields! pic.twitter.com/g7YMO7oJma
And here’s Warren following it up two weeks later with Bears tight end Cole Kmet:
He’s a graduate— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 21, 2023
Congrats, @ColeKmet! pic.twitter.com/7nqj4eC1Pt
We’ve gone from a President that Bears fans saw once a year at a press conference, to a President that has made it clear that he’s going to be involved in every facet of the organization. Warren is fully invested. It’s more than a job for him. Showing up at the graduations of his players is proof of that.
This feels different.
Will Warren be good at his job? Some criticized his tenure as Big 10 Commissioner. There’s no guarantee that his tenure as President will be a better one than that of Phillips, but from an optics perspective, Warren is already hitting a home run.
Warren is making it clear to the players that he cares about them. He’s proud of their accomplishments off the field. He wants to be part of welcoming them to the team. That’s an element that was missing from Phillips’ tenure that shouldn’t be understated.
Warren is making it clear to Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus that he’s their boss. He will be present at major events and at practices. He will be observing how they do things. He will certainly be there to criticize issues and applaud great work.
And by doing that, Warren is showing the fans that he matters. He isn’t just some man that we see in name on the Bears’ website and once a year at a press conference. Warren is going to be a face of this franchise moving forward. He’s going to lead. He’s going to be present.
It’s still yet to be determined how Warren handles the building of the new stadium and running the organization throughout the year. But if the first five weeks are any indication, Bears’ fans should be thrilled about their franchise’s new President.