Lovie Smith safe through 2012
Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey said Friday that when Phil Emery was promoted to general manager, he was told Lovie Smith would be the coach for 2012, but Emery would have the freedom to make a change after that.
Smith's contract runs through 2013, and he's entering a season when expectations are high after the Bears made several offseason acquisitions, including that of Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall.
"Lovie has said there's pressure every year to win. That's just a fact of life in the NFL," McCaskey told "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN 1000. "We told Phil when he came in that Lovie had to be the coach in 2012. He accepted that condition. We also told him that he would have the freedom to make a change if he thought it was necessary after 2012.
"The hope is that we win the Super Bowl and there won't be a change."
McCaskey wasn't implying that the threshold for Smith to keep his job is winning the Super Bowl, but while Smith led the Bears to Super Bowl XLI after the 2006 season, his teams have missed the playoffs in four of the past five seasons.
Emery said he was fine with having to keep Smith as coach and that he admires Smith as a coach and as a person.
However, he also has expectations.
"As far as my expectations, it's the same as I put on myself," he told reporters on Wednesday. "I said this when I first came in, we expect to be experts at our given jobs. And our goal is excellence and coming together to win championships, and that's my expectations -- to make steady progress towards those goals.
"I consider this a team that has goals. And we want to make progress towards those goals daily and weekly, every Sunday, towards those goals. And I want to know where that direction is. It won't be Week 1, Week 2. It'll be at the end of the season. I want to know what the direction of our team is daily and weekly toward attaining our goals, and that's how I'll determine it. Are we achieving excellence? Are we moving towards our goals or not?"
Smith said he's not worried about his contract.
"Nobody's really thinking about contracts," he said Wednesday. "You think about contracts in the offseason, you negotiate things there.
"Right now, I think as a football team, we're just ready to see everyone out on the football field doing their job, and that's the message."