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Monday, December 10, 2012
Lovie Smith discusses Bears future

By Jeff Dickerson
ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- With losses in four of the past five games and speculation that his job might be in jeopardy if the Chicago Bears don't make the playoffs, coach Lovie Smith said Monday he is OK with his future being tied to his win-loss record.

"I think every day I've been here, each day I think (when) all of us come to work we are going to do the best job that we possibly can," said Smith, who is under contract through the 2013 season. "All of our futures are tied, it's all based on wins and losses, really, and I'm OK with that."

After a 7-1 start to the season, the Bears (8-5) have gone 1-4 heading into Sunday's home matchup against the Green Bay Packers (9-4) and have lost six straight games in December. Green Bay can clinch the NFC North with a victory over the Bears, who enter the game as the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs.

"It doesn't really matter about the teams ahead of us or the teams behind us right now," Smith said. "It's what we do so we're not looking at that at all. And to be in a situation where the team that's leading our division is coming in this week ... It's about this week. We have the Packers coming in and that's enough right there for all of our thoughts to just go on them."

Smith's tenure in Chicago got off to a fast start as the Bears won their division in 2005 and 2006 and earned a berth in Super Bowl XLI. Smith earned NFL Coach of the Year honors in 2005 and his 82 overall wins (82-65) are third in franchise history, trailing only George Halas and Mike Ditka.

But if the Bears collapse and miss the postseason, it would be the fifth time in six years the organization failed to reach the playoffs. The Bears were 7-3 last season when quarterback Jay Cutler injured his thumb and running back Matt Forte later was shelved with a knee injury. The Bears finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

When Phil Emery was hired as general manager in January, he was told by ownership that he had to retain Smith for at least the 2012 season but would be free to make a move afer that.