Jerry Angelo, fired as the Bears' general manager Tuesday, didn't sound like a guy whose job was in danger when I spoke to him prior to the Bears-Packers game on Christmas night in Green Bay.
He preferred to avoid addressing "big-picture" issues -- like the backup quarterback, wide receiver and Matt Forte situations -- until the end of the season. But even though, as it turns out, the Jay Cutler injury was the Bears' undoing, he didn't blame bad luck for the team's demise this season.
''We had real control of our destiny [at 7-3]. You could almost grab it, and for whatever reason we just let it get pulled out of our hands,'' he told me. ''It was very upsetting [and] disappointing. And we all feel that way -- the players, coaches, certainly our fans felt that way. Because even though we lost some players, we still had a good football team.
''I thought we were going to come out of this with several wins. I felt like we could have won them all. Those are tough. Real tough. I don't know how else to say it. But I know that sentiment is shared by everybody, not just me. Or you shouldn't be in this business. Because we're in this business to win games.''
Though the Cutler injury was the fatal blow to this season, even Angelo seemed to know there was more to it than that.
''Are we upset about where we are? Yeah, we're upset about where we are,'' he said. ''But we've got nobody to blame but ourselves. We just didn't finish things the way we could have finished them or should have finished them.''
Bears president Ted Phillips said he made the decision to fire Angelo on Monday and informed Angelo on Tuesday morning.
''He took it as the professional that he is,'' Phillips said. ''He understood -- a little surprised -- but he understood and he took it as well as anyone could. I have great respect for him."
That Angelo would take it in stride would be consistent with is public persona as the Bears' general manager. One thing you can say for Angelo -- despite his lofty position in Chicago's sporting scene, he never took himself too seriously. He understood he didn't control the outcome of every move he made.
''Philosophically when you put your team together You have to project, so you can't guarantee anything,'' he said prior to the Packers game at Lambeau. ''Can't guarantee players staying healthy, so you have to make sure you create the best depth that you can at every position. And this year was no different.
''I liked our football team this year. I liked our football team very much. I thought we were going to be a good football team. That's not to say that we weren't. But we didn't handle the adversity well in the end. No more than that.''