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Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Mike Martz won't discuss job rumors

By Jeff Dickerson
ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz declined to discuss rumors linking him to college and NFL head coaching vacancies.

The 18-year NFL coaching veteran has been mentioned as a possible candidate for openings at Arizona State, UCLA and with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who fired coach Jack Del Rio on Tuesday.

Martz's current deal is set to expire following the season after he and the Bears failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension over the summer.

Martz signed a two-year deal with the Bears on Feb. 1, 2010.

"Anything about those kinds of things I would never discuss," Martz said after practice on Wednesday. "I have a job. This job is the only one I can discuss. I appreciate what you are saying, but it would just be very inappropriate for me to talk about anything like that. I appreciate it, thank you.

"This is the only job I would discuss, ever, the one I have. I think you all can appreciate that about your jobs too. If the shoe was on the other foot, I think you'd probably feel the same way, wouldn't you?"

Martz, the former St. Louis Rams coach, has ties to Arizona State, where he served on the Sun Devils coaching staff for nine seasons (1983-1991). Before Arizona State, Martz spent time in the college ranks at Minnesota, Pacific and Fresno State.

Bears coach Lovie Smith, who previously worked for Martz in St. Louis, denied knowledge of Martz either drawing interest or expressing interest in any of the current coaching vacancies.

"He has been?" said Smith, whose Bears play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. "Well, that kind of tells you how much of a distraction it's been. I'm sure if you talk to Mike about any of that, he's going to talk to you about Kansas City and taking care of business right now. That's the job we have at hand. Hopefully, on a personal note, I would hope every coach on our staff wants to advance, has an opportunity [to advance]. But all that comes when you have a good football season, when you take care of things in front of you. For us, it's all about Kansas City and nothing else."

Last week Smith told ESPNChicago.com that he was happy with his coaching staff when asked about Martz.

"I love our staff is what I'm gonna say," Smith said. "You could say that about [linebackers coach] Bob [Babich], [receivers coach] Daryl [Drake], [special teams coach] Dave [Toub] and everybody else. I love our staff. I would never talk on anything except to say that."

Smith added that when he was an assistant, he preferred the flexibility of coaching on one-year deals.

Although Martz has drawn mixed reviews since he assumed control of the Bears' offense in 2010, quarterback Jay Cutler posted an 85.7 passer rating in 10 games before he fractured his right thumb versus San Diego on Nov. 20. If Martz fails to return next season, it would mean a fourth offensive coordinator for Cutler in the past five years.

"I don't want to learn a new system, I know that," Cutler said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "We have a good thing going here, but Mike's going to do whatever is best for Mike. This is a business, and this is how it goes. And I think everyone involved realizes that, so we'll see what happens.

"If you look at the offenses that are good around the league, Green Bay, the Patriots, the Saints, there's consistency there. They've been in the same system, they've had the same offensive coordinator, receivers. If you want to be an elite offense in this league, that's what you have to do. You can't keep shipping guys in and out. Can't keep having different offensive coordinators left and right. It's hard on a quarterback, and it's hard on everyone to learn that stuff."

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.