|ESPN.com: NFL Playoffs 2010||[Print without images]|
With his team in the NFC Championship Game for the second time in five seasons, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher believes coach Lovie Smith has earned a contract extension.
"I believe he has done a great job here. He's the reason we've won," Urlacher said Wednesday on "Mike & Mike In The Morning" on ESPN Radio. "I think he's been here seven years and this is our second NFC Championship [Game], and it hasn't been that way around here in a long time. There were a few years where we were 7-9, 8-8 and that was good. People were excited about that because it meant we were getting better.
"Now if we're not in the playoffs or the NFC championship people are disappointed, and that's because of him. That's how he makes people believe around here, and that's what he expects out of us. I believe in him. I don't see why he wouldn't get an extension. He's earned it, and I don't want to play for any other coach."
Smith has one year remaining on his four-year, $22 million deal, an extension he signed less than a month after reaching the Super Bowl in February 2007. In seven seasons leading the Bears, Smith has a 63-49 record in the regular season and three NFC North titles.
The Green Bay Packers stand in the way of another trip to the Super Bowl for Smith's Bears. With his Bears three-point underdogs for Sunday's game at Soldier Field, Urlacher said he wasn't happy with another slight by the oddsmakers.
"You feel disrespected," Urlacher said. "I understand all the oddsmakers and all the experts know what they're talking about because Seattle could have never beaten New Orleans at home [in the wild-card round]. It's crazy. Why would anyone think that? So they all know what they're talking about. We'll just go out and do the best we can and hopefully we come out on top."
The Bears were three-point underdogs when they beat the Packers 20-17 at home on Sept. 27, and 11-point underdogs in the season finale at Green Bay, a 10-3 Chicago loss. Urlacher said the Bears have used the "no respect" rallying cry to their advantage all season.
"You can only use it so many times," Urlacher said. "We've used it all year long because we've been underdogs all year long so I don't know how many times it's going to work. I think at this point in the season it's just whoever plays better is going to win which is the way with any Sunday.
"We've got to be prepared to play. The underdog role has worked for pretty good for us so far. I think we're underdogs again so we'll just go out there and do the best we can."