Eight years ago, the Minnesota Vikings thought they had a draft-day deal with the Baltimore Ravens to move from the No. 7 to the No. 10 overall pick in the draft. They reported the trade to the NFL and assumed the Ravens had done the same.
Then they watched in horror as their television screens showed their time limit had expired and two teams jumped in front of them. The Ravens later claimed they could not get through to the NFL to report their end of the deal, a failure that embarrassed the Vikings even after they recovered to select defensive tackle Kevin Williams at No. 9 overall.
That episode came to mind late Thursday night when the Ravens apparently got a dose of similar medicine. They believed they had a deal with the Chicago Bears to move from No. 26 to No. 29, but ultimately their time expired before the trade was finalized. The Kansas City Chiefs leapfrogged the Ravens to select Pittsburgh receiver Jonathan Baldwin, and the Ravens recovered to select Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith.
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo wouldn't get into specifics with Chicago-area reporters, but admitted "I dropped the ball," and said he apologized to the Ravens. Presumably, Angelo didn't get the trade reported in time, but he strongly implied that the Ravens planned to take Smith at No. 29 and that the Bears would have taken Wisconsin offensive lineman Gabe Carimi at No. 26.
The Bears apparently thought the Chiefs would take Carimi. But as it turned out, Carimi was still available at No. 29.
"We had a disconnect and there might be something said about it because of not communicating with the league and proper protocol, that was my fault," Angelo said, according to my ESPNChicago.com colleague Jeff Dickerson. "I called Baltimore and apologized to Baltimore and told them it was our fault. They did everything according to the rules and we thought we were following everything and we just ran out of time. It was a glitch on our part and that glitch obviously was under my reign."
I give Angelo credit for owning up to a mistake that, fortunately, doesn't appear to have harmed either team. But it only adds to the perception of the Bears as a disorganized front office. Last year, they called running back James Starks to tell him they had drafted him before Angelo changed his mind at the last moment. And Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reminds me that in 2002, a paperwork error led to the free-agent departure of receiver D'Wayne Bates.
The Bears got the player they wanted, but probably didn't inspire much confidence in the way they did it. Take that for what you will.