By JEFF DICKERSON
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- While most assume Lovie Smith is safe, players still spent a good chunk of time Monday morning expressing their desire for the Bears head coach to return for a seventh season.
"We're in this need to be gratified now mentally," Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said. "Three years [without making the playoffs] in the scheme of things isn't that long. Anything can change in a heartbeat. Next year can be the year.
For the way he's taken this team to the Super Bowl, and the NFC championship, I think he deserves a little more credit than what he's getting. You're not going to be on top all the time. Even if you're [New England head coach] Bill Belicheck or Lovie Smith, you're going to have your ups and your downs. Right now he's in a little bit of a down, but I'm sure he can get it [the team] up."
Ogunleye, an unrestricted free agent, calls his chances of returning to the Bears next year “fifty-fifty."