GM search: More interviews or a decision?

After bringing in five candidates last week to interview for the Chicago Bears' general manager position, team president and CEO Ted Phillips is expected to decide early this week how the club plans to proceed. The search is now officially 20 days old following the dismissal of former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo on Jan. 3.

Kansas City Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery, San Diego Chargers director of player personnel Jimmy Raye, New England Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht, New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross and current Bears director of player personnel Tim Ruskell were all given a chance to state their case for the job last week at Halas Hall.

As of late Friday, the Bears did not expect to interview any additional candidates for the vacant general manager spot.

Given the Bears' methodical approach to the search process, Phillips could decide this week to whittle down the list of five candidates, and potentially conduct a second round of interviews if he deems it necessary.

However, Ross and Licht both saw their teams advance to the Super Bowl over the weekend, which could potentially complicate matters if the Bears are targeting either of the two.

Under league rules, the Bears would need written permission from either New England or New York to officially hire Ross or Licht before the Super Bowl is played on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. The decision to grant permission or veto the move would be entirely up to the Giants or Patriots, and completely out of the Bears' control.

Once the season ends following the Super Bowl, the candidates would be free to accept the Bears job if offered to them.