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New Contract Buoys Lovie's Spirits

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New Contract Buoys Lovie's Spirits

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An hour before taking the podium to meet the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Lovie Smith agreed to a two-year contract extension as Head Coach of the Chicago Bears

Smith's current contract was set to expire after the 2011 season. He now will stick around through 2013, the same timeline for General Manager Jerry Angelo and Team President Ted Phillips' contracts.

"I feel very comfortable getting three years on my contract, it's plenty of time," Smith told reporters.  "Feel comfortable having all of us being connected together as far as the length of my contract. I'm excited, its' exactly what I want."

Smith led the Bears to three NFC North titles including this past season, a "must win" for the coaching staff. The three division titles since 2005 are the second most in the NFC behind the Seattle Seahawks' four.

"In our time here, we've won the championship three times, we've been to the championship game a couple years, our staff knows what they're doing, we have good players, and I like our chances next year," Smith said.

He holds a .563 win percentage with a 63-49 regular season coaching record and .303 in the post season. Lovie Smith has the third most wins in Bears franchise history behind Hall of Famers George Halas and Mike Ditka.

"I think you know how much I love my job," Smith gushed. "Great organization that I've worked with these past seven years."

Smith acknowledges that despite a 26-16 record within the division and a regular season winning record against all three teams in the division, he knows the road to the Super Bowl still goes through Green Bay.

"We have the Super Bowl champion in our division, our biggest rivalry. We have to catch up," he said. "It's as simple as that."

Smith wouldn't give any guarantees like Jets coach Rex Ryan on Thursday, but said, "We finished this past year on a sour note with a loss, but again there's so much excitement we know we have things in place to win it all."

The jovial Smith even joked that his new agent Matthew Smith did a nice job negotiating the extension.

What happened to powerhouse "agent to the coaches" Frank Bauer? "We are still good friends," Smith said, acknowledging the good job Bauer did negotiating his past contracts. 

So who is this Matthew Smith who snared the deal for the 3rd winningest coach in Bears franchise history? Lovie Smith's son. A second-year sports law student at Loyola University in Chicago.

"He has one client!" Smith laughed, insisting his son is now his lawyer and agent, keeping it all in the family.

NFL COMBINE NOTES: 

  • Lovie Smith said Jay Cutler is "doing fine like the rest of our team" after the knee injury that took him out of the Bears NFC Championship game.
  • On DT Tommie Harris who is still under contract for 2011 with the Chicago Bears: "Every player that's on our roster fits in our plans. Every day that I've been on the job, Tommie's been here. All those things will take care of itself. … Tommie has a contract." 
  • On the status of Center Olin Kreutz, who will become a free agent: "Every day I've been here, Olin Kreutz has been here. I believe in him, he's anchored our team. Our team leader … he's very important to what we do. I think Olin knows he's wanted."   
  • On the death of Dave Duerson: "An all-time great passed away at a young age, that in itself whether it's Dave Duerson or anyone, is a sad day. Children have to be without their dads. ... Anytime you lose someone in your family, it's just a tough time and of course our prayers are with the Duerson family as they go through this tough time."

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