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NFL World Reacts To The Big Ten Commissioner Report

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 12: Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren speaks following the cancellation of the men's basketball tournament due to concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 12, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren could soon go back to the NFL.

According to ESPN's Pete Thamel, Warren is "a strong candidate" to become the Chicago Bears' next president. He's a finalist in a search expected to conclude within the next few weeks.

Warren spent over two decades in the NFL before taking the Big Ten's commissioner job in 2020. He played a pivotal role in the Minnesota Vikings building a new stadium as their CEO.

While potentially leaving a prominent position may surprise some onlookers, football reporters aren't stunned to learn Warren is seriously pursuing an NFL opportunity.

"Kevin Warren going back to the NFL would surprise exactly nobody in college sports," USA Today's Dan Wolken wrote.

"Certainly a fascinating development and interesting timing — two Big Ten teams are in the CFP and playing in two days. But lots of folks in the industry have always thought Kevin Warren would want to go back to the NFL eventually," The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach said.

"Kevin Warren presided over the Big Ten as it expanded to add USC and UCLA and then helped strike the richest conference TV deal in college sports," Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated said. "Many around college athletics expected that he'd eventually return to the NFL. Looks like it's happening."

"I kind of suspected for some time that Kevin Warren was in it for the TV deal, get it done, then be back to the NFL," The Athletic's Stewart Mandel wrote.

"When he took the Big Ten job, he came with nothing but positive reviews from people I trust," CHGO Sports' Adam Hoge said. "Not sure it has been the best fit, but those NFL credentials still apply. Not surprised he's a finalist."

The report comes in the same year Warren oversaw expansion by striking a deal to bring USC and UCLA to the Big Ten. Michigan and Ohio State will represent the conference in the College Football Playoff, marking the first time more than one Big Ten team made the four-team tournament.

Warren also helped the Big Ten secure a $7 billion media rights deal with FOX, CBS, and NBC. Although that doesn't speak to his ability to construct a winning team, those feats make him an intriguing candidate to lead an NFL franchise.