Ted Phillips announced Friday that at the end of the 2022 NFL season, he will step down as president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Bears after 23 years in that role.
The 65-year-old Phillips explained his decision in an interview with Dan Pompei of The Athletic:
"When COVID came, it changed a lot of dynamics and gave me some time to reflect on my life, my work life. I came to the conclusion that, my gosh, almost 40 years is a long time. It's time to hand over the baton and give myself the gift of time. You know how this business can be, a lot of hours and time away from family. I just turned 65 years old. I feel good. My health is good. I felt it was time to slow down and do whatever I want to do."
The Bears also announced Phillips' impending retirement:
When Phillips steps down in February, he will have been part of the Bears organization for 40 years, as he worked in the team's finance department and later became vice president of operations before his promotion to team president and CEO in 1999.
In 1983, Phillips joined the Bears as their controller, meaning he was part of the organization during its only Super Bowl win.
The Bears enjoyed one of the most dominant seasons in NFL history in 1985, going 15-1 during the regular season on the strength of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton and arguably the best defense of all time.
Chicago crushed the New England Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX, capping the historic season in grand fashion.
Since then, the Bears have won nine additional division titles and reached the playoffs 12 times, including going to Super Bowl XLI in 2006, where they fell 29-17 to the Indianapolis Colts.
It seems unlikely that Phillips' final season will end in glory, as the Bears are in a rebuild and coming off a 6-11 season in 2021.
Still, there is optimism for the team's future, provided 2021 first-round pick Justin Fields can establish himself as the franchise quarterback, which the Bears haven't had often throughout their history.