Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery said the club will not consider the contract of coach Lovie Smith until the conclusion of the season.
Smith is signed through 2013 and looks to be on solid footing right now with the Bears 4-1 and tied for first place in the NFC North. Emery was hired to replace Jerry Angelo in January with one stipulation: He had to work with Smith for at least one season. Ownership gave Emery the power to do as he pleases after the first season, but right now the GM and coach appear to be on the same page with the team winning.
So, Emery was asked to shed light on a radio report that the club had an opening talk with Smith about a new deal, something that wouldn’t make a lot of sense at this early juncture in the season. It would be difficult for coaches to tell players not to focus on contracts during the season if they are doing the opposite.
“That's an interesting word, light, because I kind of took that lighthearted when I heard it,” Emery said. “I said, 'Geez, even if that was true, when would we have gotten that done?' Coach Smith is very focused on improving this team on a daily basis. … There (are) not enough hours in the day to have those kinds of conversations.”
Smith also denied the existence of contract talks to WSCR-670 AM.
“It's amazing how things can become fact when there's nothing to back that up,'' Smith said. “I've never talked about my contract during the course of the year, so there's nothing to talk about.”
If the Bears keep winning, Smith’s contract will be discussed in due time.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune