Posted by Will Brinson
Before the 2010 season, Lovie Smith -- and the entire Bears front office -- was on the hot seat. After winning a division title last year, though, he's received a two-year extension from Chicago that keeps him with the team through 2013, the Bears announced Friday.
"Of course I feel great about the extension like I have every year I have been on the job," Smith, the fifth-longest tenured coach in the NFL, said Friday at the combine.
Smith's extension is based on Chicago's performance in 2010 -- after three-straight middling seasons to follow up their 2006 Super Bowl appearance, the Bears bounced back and posted an 11-5 record en route to winning the NFC North.
That doesn't mean that their place in the division is anything close to secure.
"We realize we have the Super Bowl champs in our division and we're looking up to them," Smith said Friday at the combine.
Although he's taken some grief for various coaching decisions, Smith has led Chicago to three division titles since 2005 (second-most in the NFC) and three double-digit win seasons (one of only two teams to do so int hat time span).
Oftentimes, fans and the media lament some of Lovie's gameday decisions, including his use of challenges and willingness to go for it on fourth down. But the 13th coach in Bears history has still come quite close to winning a Super Bowl and showed tremendous improvement in 2010, leading to the reward from the Bears' ownership.
Also worth noting? Lovie's contract now runs up at the same time as Jerry Angelo (2013), meaning they are, once again, in the same boat together. Just like last year.
"Jerry and I work together well," Smith said Friday. "We feel like we're a good combination."
They certainly were last year, and it the Bears apparently believe their combo -- along with Jay Cutler, who happens to be signed through 2013 as well -- is a winner for the future.
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