Chicago Bears fire GM Phil Emery, Head Coach Marc Trestman

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A lot of Bears fans expected someone would have to go after this disappointing season and they also have a lot of opinions on what should happen next. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Chicago Bears fired General Manager Phil Emery and Head Coach Marc Trestman on Monday after a disappointing season. The Bears finished 5-11, the team's worst record in 10 years.

The Chicago Bears missed the playoffs for the seventh time in the past eight years this season, finishing last in the NFC North.

Trestman, who was hired in 2013, is out after going 13-19 in two seasons. Emery was hired in 2012. Chicago Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey and President and CEO Ted Phillips informed Trestman and Emery on Monday that they would not be returning to the team in 2015.

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"I want to thank Virginia, George and the McCaskey family, Phil Emery and Ted Phillips for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach of the Chicago Bears. I also want to thank all the coaches and players who gave us everything we asked over the past two years. I have tremendous respect for this organization. Chicago is a special city with great fans. I appreciate the warm support my family and I received," Trestman said in a statement on Monday.

McCaskey and Phillips said the process to hire the team's next general manager and head coach will begin immediately. The club has hired Ernie Accorsi to consult in the search.

"We understand the magnitude of this decision and we understand that Bears fans are counting on us to get it right," McCaskey said. "We think that the experience that we bring over the last three years, having been through the process before... will help us in the process and get us the right people to lead the Bears."

"We're going to proceed with a sense of urgency," said Phillips. "There is no timeline, as George mentioned, but we do have a sense of urgency and we will be prepared to act when we get the right candidates in place."

Bears fans said they were shocked to hear the news. But none of the fans ABC7 Eyewitness News spoke to on Monday said it was the wrong decision.

"Yes, I think that's what the team needs," Dorothea Jackson said. "New management. New coach. Defense, offense has been embarrassing!"

"I don't think that Trestman should have been the head coach anyway. From what, Canada? Never had the experience. We had that guy in Arizona begging to be the coach for the Bears. Should have got him," Charles Bell, another fan.

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"It was needed and necessary. But they haven't gone far enough. The minute they find a way to get rid of Jay Cutler, the better off the rest of Chicago is going to be - and the better off the Bears are going to be going into the future," said John Jurkovich of ESPN Radio.

Jurkovich said it is unclear whether the team can unload Jay Cutler or what the Bears would get back for him. The quarterback signed a seven-year extension this season, which ESPN reports was reportedly worth $126 million, including $54 million guaranteed. He is currently the highest-paid player in the NFL.

Chicago is unlikely to find out who the Bears' new head coach will be until a new general manager is named.

This was certainly not what the Bears envisioned with a prolific offense returning intact and a rebuilt defense in tow. But little went right for Chicago this season.

There were distractions throughout the year, whether it was linebacker Lance Briggs being allowed to miss practice to open a restaurant in California the week of the opener or offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer admitting he was the NFL Network's source behind a critical report of Cutler late in the season.

Trestman, who was hired to get the most out of Cutler, decided the team needed a spark even with the Bears out of contention, so he benched the highly paid quarterback in favor of Jimmy Clausen for the second-to-last game of the season against Detroit. Cutler wound up starting the final game after Clausen suffered a concussion against the Lions, adding another chapter to a season-long soap opera.

Trestman also surprised some by allowing star receiver Brandon Marshall to fly to New York on a weekly basis to record Showtime's "Inside the NFL." Marshall, who is open about his struggles with borderline personality disorder, had an off year and at one point gave a rambling news conference over past allegations of domestic abuse. He also challenged a Detroit fan on Twitter to a boxing match for charity, and reporters standing in the hallway overheard him screaming in the locker room after a loss to Miami at Soldier Field in October that raised all sorts of questions about where the team was headed.

The answers came right after that.

The Bears joined the 1923 Rochester Jeffersons as the only teams to give up 50 or more points in back-to-back games while dropping the next two at New England and Green Bay. Trestman's meek response after defensive end Lamarr Houston suffered a season-ending knee injury celebrating a late sack against the Patriots - "I'm disappointed for Lamarr," he said twice - only fueled doubts about his leadership.

In recent weeks, it was clear changes were coming. The question was how far up the ladder they would go.

Emery, who replaced the fired Jerry Angelo, was hired with the mandate that he work with former coach Lovie Smith for at least one season. He fired Smith after the Bears missed the playoffs despite a 10-6 record in 2012, ending a nine-year run that produced three playoff appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl.

Since, then, the team has been in decline.

"This job was an opportunity of a lifetime. My only regret is that we didn't win enough games for that opportunity to continue," Emery said in a brief session with reporters Monday.

The decision to hire Trestman, who led the CFL's Montreal Alouettes to two championships in five years but had never been a head coach in the NFL, backfired. Along with the distractions, there was a huge regression by the offense this season. Chicago went from second in scoring to 21st this year despite having all its starters back, and the fact that the man Trestman beat out for the job, Bruce Arians, is rolling along with the Arizona Cardinals does not make the hiring look any better.

Giving Cutler a big contract after last season when the franchise player tag was an option is looking like another miss for Emery, as is the three-year contract extension Marshall got in May. The trade that brought him from Miami before the 2012 season actually appeared to be a hit his first two years in Chicago as he was reunited with Cutler. But the drama combined with injuries that limited him and ultimately cut short his season changed the perception.

Emery had success rebuilding the offensive line before the 2013 season, drafting Kyle Long and bringing in Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson. But the makeover he gave the defense last offseason did not pay off. Chicago continued to rank among the league's worst in that area under Mel Tucker, with Jared Allen struggling and fellow newcomer Houston getting injured on that ill-advised sack celebration. Only the Saints and Falcons gave up more yards per game than the Bears.

Just like his predecessor, Emery also has a spotty draft record.

He connected with Long, a two-time Pro Bowl pick, and receiver Alshon Jeffery. Cornerback Kyle Fuller has showed some promise as a rookie this year, but Shea McClellin is looking like a bust after three seasons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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