Mike Martz exited after two seasons with the Chicago Bears by saying he enjoyed the time he spent working on Lovie Smith’s staff.
Smith essentially axed Martz on Tuesday, two days after the Bears finished their season 8-8 following a promising 7-3 start. Martz was in the final year of his contract but even during the good times – the Bears won the NFC North Division last year – it was a rocky ride.
“I thank Lovie for the opportunity,” Martz told the NFP’s Dan Pompei. “There is nothing in our relationship that changed. It was just time for me to move on. We had two good years here.”
It’s easy to wonder how things would have turned out differently had quarterback Jay Cutler not suffered a broken right thumb following an interception in a Nov. 20 victory over the San Diego Chargers. That was the last game the Bears won before the Jan. 1 finale at Minnesota.
“It’s unfortunate things happened the way they did this year,” Martz said. “We were rolling there when Cutler got hurt. He was really doing well and the entire team was. At that point, I think we were the most complete team in the league. Offensively, we finally came up to what we needed to be. We had some guys thrown in the offensive line who were playing well.
“Then it happened. Things happen.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune