Ryan Poles has worked for the Kansas City Chiefs since 2009. He worked his way up from a player personnel assistant to executive director of player personnel.
Now, for the first time in 13 years, he will be leaving the Chiefs.
The Bears hired Poles, 36, on Tuesday to be their next general manager. Things came full circle for Poles, who the Bears signed as an undrafted rookie offensive lineman in 2008. He didn’t make the 53-man roster, but 14 years later he will now be the one making those types of decisions.
Poles showed up to work at Halas Hall early Wednesday for his first full day of work. The team shared a video clip of him exiting his car before dawn in the team parking lot.
Over his 13 years with the Chiefs, Poles held several titles. He spent three years as a college scouting administrator, five as a the college scouting director and several more as the assistant director of player personnel before ascending to executive director of player personnel in 2021.
He helped the Chiefs go from another NFL has-been to an organization that this week will compete in its fourth consecutive AFC championship game and could potentially reach its third straight Super Bowl.
The Chiefs had nothing but good things to say about Poles in the 24 hours after his hiring became official.
“My family and I are excited for Ryan as he embarks on his new role with the Chicago Bears,” Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement release by the Bears. “Ryan made significant contributions to the success of our player personnel department over the last 13 years, and I know he will do a great job in Chicago. He has a proven track record as a talent evaluator, and his experience, attention to detail and football acumen will make him an outstanding general manager. We wish Ryan, Katie and their family nothing but the best in this new chapter.”
Head coach Andy Reid, who has been in Kansas City since 2013, called Poles “a tremendous hire” and noted that Poles has worked hard to reach this moment.
Poles spent much of his time with Kansas City in the college scouting department. The Chiefs have acquired numerous current stars through the draft, none more notable than 2017 first-round pick Patrick Mahomes. They’ve also drafted receiver Tyreek Hill, tight end Travis Kelce and tackle Eric Fisher, to name a few.
Since 2013, Poles has worked under current Chiefs GM Brett Veach. Veach was a pro and college scouting analyst and later a co-director of player personnel before becoming the general manager.
In recent years, Poles has been one of his right-hand men.
“Ryan has been an integral part of this organization’s success over the years and has grown professionally alongside some of the league’s top personnel people in his time in Kansas City,” Veach said. “I’ve personally enjoyed working with him since I arrived in Kansas City in 2013 and know he is ready for this opportunity. The Chicago Bears are getting a hard-working, meticulous and personable leader who has a vision for how to build a winning team on the field and establish a winning culture off of it. I am incredibly excited for Ryan and his family as they begin this journey in Chicago.”
Poles’ first order of business will be to hire a head coach. The Bears reportedly have at least three finalists for the job: Jim Caldwell, Dan Quinn and Matt Eberflus.