NFC North: Frank Bauer

We're Black and Blue All Over:

INDIANAPOLIS -- A few of us did a double-take Friday when Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith said he was happy with the job his agent, whom he identified as Matthew Smith, did in negotiating a two-year contract extension. Veteran agent Frank Bauer has long represented Lovie Smith. Who is Matthew Smith?

Friday's rapid-fire activity around the NFC North left that question on the backburner for me, but Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times got it answered: Matthew Smith is Lovie's son and a second-year law student at Loyola. Lovie Smith joked: "I wanted a guy who could spend all his time with one client, so that's what I did."

Smith's contract now extends through 2013. Terms were not disclosed, but it is assumed it included a raise from the annual $5 million salary he has been drawing.

Continuing around the NFC North on the third day of the scouting combine:

Daunte Culpepper in agent mode

March, 22, 2010
3/22/10
5:33
PM ET
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Former Detroit and Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper was wearing his agent's hat Monday, working the lobby of the NFL owners meeting in hopes of getting a job for a client: Himself.

As we noted last month, Culpepper hired attorney David Cornwell as an advisor but remains his own agent when it comes to soliciting and negotiating contracts. He is an unrestricted free agent who now knows he won't be returning to the Lions, who replaced him earlier this month by acquiring Shaun Hill from San Francisco.

Culpepper said he has touched base with a handful of teams so far this offseason but hasn't had any serious contract discussions.

"That's why I'm here," Culpepper said.

Agents often drop in on the owners meeting to jump-start negotiations. In the past day, I've seen Drew Rosenhaus, David Dunn and Frank Bauer, among others, making the rounds.

Marinelli visiting Chicago

January, 2, 2009
1/02/09
3:46
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Former Detroit coach Rod Marinelli is visiting Chicago's practice facility Friday, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. Although Marinelli's agent stressed that no deal has been finalized, it seems clear that he will join the Bears' coaching staff in some capacity this offseason.

As of Friday, the Bears had created only one opening on their staff, having fired defensive backs coach Steve Wilks. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich and defensive line coach Brick Haley, whose jobs Marinelli would seem most likely to take if he were hired, remain on the payroll.

But Marinelli has a long history with Bears coach Lovie Smith and Bears general manager Jerry Angelo from the trio's time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's possible Marinelli could take Haley's job along with an assistant head coach's title.

Marinelli's agent, Frank Bauer, also represents Smith and Babich. Bauer told the Sun-Times that Marinelli is going to "take his time" deciding on his future plans. But there is a widespread belief in the NFL that Marinelli will eventually find his way to Chicago.

The Bears will need to handle this situation delicately. The fact that coaching candidates are visiting while Babich remains employed suggests the Bears are still weighing his future.

But bringing in Marinelli, while retaining Babich, would create a situation that historically is difficult to manage. Babich might technically remain in charge of the defense, but you would have to assume Marinelli would assume an unusually significant role for a non-coordinator. That creates chain-of-command issues that almost always lead to internal factioning.

To make it work, Marinelli, Babich and Smith would have to forge an exceptional relationship to present a united front and maintain a clear hierarchy. In the reality of today's NFL, that's a tough task.

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