The Bears have whittled their initial list of five candidates to two, and they'll conduct a second round of interviews with Phil Emery of the Kansas City Chiefs and Jason Licht of the New England Patriots, according to three league sources.
Eliminated from the process were Marc Ross of the New York Giants, Jimmy Raye of the San Diego Chargers and Tim Ruskell of the Bears.
Emery and Licht will interview at Halas Hall later this week. Emery is already in Mobile, and Licht is expected to arrive, at some point.
The Bears were free to interview Emery at any time. But, they needed written permission from the Patriots to interview Licht again, since his club's season isn't over. The Patriots will play the Giants Feb. 5 in the Super Bowl, in Indianapolis.
That Ruskell has eliminated puts him in a compromising position. It's believed he still has at least another year on his contract, but he's now at the mercy of either Licht or Emery.
And those two may elect to go with a more traditional route, hiring a college and pro director, instead of one to oversee both. Ruskell was hired by former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo as the director of player personnel in April 2010.
Ultimately, in the second round of interviews, the Bears will have to flesh out the plans of each man. For instance, given his familiarity with the Bears and some of the scouts on staff, Emery may not be as inclined to make massive changes to a scouting department that is fairly well-respected. Licht, meanwhile, could insist on an overhaul, implementing new scouts and systems he picked up while in Philadelphia, New England and Arizona.