Bears executive Champ Kelly emerges as candidate in GM searches of Panthers, Broncos

Kelly interviewed with the Panthers on Thursday and will meet with the Broncos next.
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By 670 The Score

(670 The Score) Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly has emerged as a candidate for two general manager vacancies.

Kelly interviewed with the Panthers on Thursday morning for their general manager vacancy. The Broncos have also requested and received permission to interview Kelly. Beyond those two organizations, four other teams have general manager openings.

Kelly has been with the Bears since 2015, when the team hired Ryan Pace as its general manager. Kelly joined the Bears after spending eight years with the Denver Broncos, where he was a key part of building a Super Bowl championship roster. Kelly was hired by the Bears as their director of pro scouting before being elevated to the role of assistant director of player personnel in 2017.

The position with the Panthers is expected to offer full control of the team's football operations. The Broncos' position opened up after John Elway vacated the spot while remaining with the organization as team president. Denver's new general manager will have full control of the roster, Elway told reporters Monday.

While Kelly receives interest for general manager positions around the league, the Bears haven't publicly committed to retaining Pace for 2021. Bears chairman Geroge McCaskey hasn't addressed reporters since September.

Pace is 42-54 over six seasons as Bears general manager, including consecutive 8-8 seasons.

The Bears reached the playoffs by earning the No. 7 seed in the NFC and will visit the second-seeded New Orleans Saints (12-4) on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. CT from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.