Posted by Josh Katzowitz
An interesting story here from the National Football Post’s Greg Gabriel about Packers RB James Starks and how he was almost – and perhaps should have been – a Bears RB instead.
Gabriel, the former Bears director of college scouting, tells how Chicago let him slip away during the 2010 Draft. Or better yet, how the Bears screwed up the pick.
The Bears didn’t necessarily need a RB because of Matt Forte and Chester Taylor, but the three scouts who had seen Starks had given him high marks. Since Starks was still available in the sixth round – mostly because he had been injured and because he had played at MAC school Buffalo – the discussion about whether Chicago should draft him intensified.
But the Bears also had Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour rated highly as well. It was going to be tough for LeFevour to make the team, Gabriel reasoned, because the Bears were planning to carry only two QBs on the roster.
I’ll let Gabriel finish the story from here:
As we got closer to our pick, (Bears GM Jerry) Angelo made the decision for the Bears to draft Starks. When we drafted a player there was a protocol we followed. After the decision on who to draft was made, Cliff Stein (the Bears contract negotiator) would call the players agent and tell him we were planning on drafting his player. He would tell the agent that (he) wanted to get a 4-year contract with the player and wanted the contract done by a certain date. If the agent agreed then I would call the player and give him the news that the Bears were going to take him. This is exactly what happened with Starks. I was on the phone for a minute or so with Starks when Angelo walked in my office and told me he had changed his mind and was drafting LeFevour. I put Starks on hold and then said to Angelo that Stein had already talked to the agent and I had the player on the phone…we couldn’t do business like that. He said he was sorry but he decided he wanted LeFevour and the card had been turned in.
I then had to tell the player (a player that I had developed a good relationship with over the previous two years) that in fact we were not drafting him. Hearing a kid go from being extremely excited to silence was not easy. It was the most embarrassing moment I had experienced while scouting.
In my mind everything is about integrity and I felt our integrity had been damaged. We had told a player and his agent that we were going to draft him and then backed out of the deal. To make amends, we promised the agent that if Starks was still available in the 7th round we would draft him. Green Bay, though, took him about 10 picks later and the rest is history.
And the Packers, I’m sure, appreciate Angelo’s ultimate decision. As evidenced by his 127-yard performance vs. Philadelphia last Sunday and considering LeFevour didn’t make the Bears squads this season, the pick probably shouldn’t be considering a good one.
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