Lamar “Soup” Campbell was a member of the five-person selection committee tasked with helping the Chicago Bears find a new general manager in January of 2022.
Campbell helped narrow the search down to former Kansas City Chiefs assistant director of player personnel Ryan Poles, who the team hired to succeed Ryan Pace as its next GM.
Just under seven months later, as first reported by Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, Poles has fired Campbell, who has served as the team’s director of player engagement since 2017.
The details of why Campbell was released aren’t known, but Biggs noted that “Poles called Campbell, who was out of town on vacation, and dismissed him.”
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Campbell Was Well-Respected By Bears Players
A former player himself (he played defensive back for the Detroit Lions from 1998-2002) Campbell was well-respected within the organization, particularly by the players, as he often worked directly with them and their families.
His role was multi-faceted; He was an advisor of sorts, doing everything from helping new players and their families get settled in the Windy City to matching up players with charities that related specifically to their interests.
Campbell played college ball with the Wisconsin Badgers from 1994-97, and he later served as Wisconsin’s assistant athletic director of student-athlete engagement before he got his job with the Bears. All this experience playing and being around the game made him a beloved and respected member of the team’s front office, which is why he was selected to help choose the team’s next GM.
“He played in the league, so he definitely understands the ins and outs of the game, the league and things of that nature,” Bears starting linebacker Roquan Smith told the team’s official website about Campbell. “Having someone to depend on and know that when you ask questions, he’s always going to shoot it real. It’s always good to have a guy like that. I have a lot of respect for him and I’m sure a lot of others would say the same.”
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Twitter Reacts to Poles Firing Campbell
Many members of the media were taken aback by the timing of Campbell’s firing, as it happened not only while he was on vacation, but later in the year, when many positions have already been filled on NFL teams.
Some commented on the stone cold aspect of firing a person who helped hire you:
Analyst Luke Braun called Poles’ move brutal:
Former Bears All-Pro center Olin Kreutz seemed baffled by the move:
And yes, there were plenty of “Soup got canned” bon mots:
While many assumed there was an underlying or unknown reason behind Campbell’s dismissal that could come out later, another Bears insider, Adam Hoge of CHGO Sports, reported there was “no specific event that led to this move,” and that it was “just part of Poles’ overhaul of the organization.”
If that’s the case, the manner in which Poles fired Campbell has left some questioning his leadership style:
Poles will meet with the media on July 26, the day training camp kicks off for the Bears. He’ll surely be asked about it then, and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds.
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