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Longtime football executive Jim Finks has resigned as president...

By SUSAN KUCZKA

CHICAGO -- Longtime football executive Jim Finks has resigned as president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Cubs and will be replaced by General Manager Dallas Green, the team has announced.

Finks, who had spent 19 years in football before joining the Cubs in September 1983, said Tuesday in a prepared statement that he would step down Dec. 31 because he 'has opportunities that can best be pursued independently.'

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However, his unexpected resignation renewed speculation he may return to football. Finks spent 10 years with the Minnesota Vikings and nine as general manager and executive vice president of the Chicago Bears. Since then, he reportedly has been courted by a number of NFL teams.

Finks had been appointed by the Cubs to handle the club's business affairs while Green attended to baseball matters. However, Finks was noticeably absent from both the winter baseball meetings in Houston last week and a news conference announcing the signing of Cy Young award winner Rick Sutcliffe.

Finks' resignation was announced by John W. Madigan, executive vice president of the Tribune Co., which has owned the club since 1981.

Green, who joined the Cubs as general manager and executive vice president in October 1981 after managing the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series crown in 1980, denied he had tried to force out Finks.

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'Jim and I had a great working relationship. It worked out well for me as a baseball guy,' said Green, who will continue as general manager. 'I've learned a great deal while working with Jim Finks, and he played a significant role in the success we have enjoyed this year.

'Our job now is to maintain momentum and bring more championships to Chicago. That's what we intend to do.'

Green, who scored a coup last week when he signed the much sought-after Sutcliffe to a five-year contract and guaranteed free-agent Steve Trout's return to Chicago, was named the 'Major League Executive of the Year' by the Baseball Writers Association of America after the Cubs' championship season.

Green, who has two years remaining on his current contract with the Cubs, said he does not plan to talk about an extension until he returns from a vacation in January.

'We're going to talk about things at the beginning of next year,' Green told broadcast station WGN, which is also owned by the Tribune Co.

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