Slow down with Lovie to Vols

January, 15, 2010
1/15/10
10:57
AM ET

CHICAGO -- It sounds like there is a sense of desperation in Knoxville, Tenn. With David Cutcliffe becoming the latest coach to say no thanks to Tennessee, boosters are screaming for a big name to replace Lane Kiffin.

According to those who cover the program, that big name is none other than Lovie Smith, the same man Profootballtalk.com suggested Thursday should take the job.

Hold on a second.

Before you get worked up, there is absolutely no evidence suggesting Smith is interested in bolting to Tennessee. At last check, Smith was more concerned about assembling his Bears' coaching staff than he was about taking a Nick Saban like plane ride down to SEC country.

Yes, Smith did serve as Volunteers' defensive backs coach from 1993-94, but do any of us really know if Smith enjoyed his time in Knoxville? That's not to say Tennessee isn't a great school, with great athletic traditions, but be careful when it comes to assuming Smith has sentimental ties to the university.

Money and security can change any equation, but Smith is owed over $10 million the next two years. It's not like the guy is broke, and even though Smith's popularity is low in Chicago, his body of work (two division titles and one Super Bowl appearance) almost guarantees another NFL head-coaching gig in the future.

These are just things to think about. When it comes to coaches leaving, anything is possible (Kiffin, Bobby Petrino, etc.), but in this case, it just doesn't seem likely.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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