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Bears’ success expected to pay off for Smith

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 25, 2010 @ 1:24 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

Talk of a contract extension for Lovie Smith has been building for weeks in Chicago, and with the Bears having secured not only a playoff berth but the NFC North title as well, some have suggested that there's no doubt Smith will be rewarded with a longer deal before next season. Smith's players are firmly in his corner and, not surprisingly, MLB Brian Urlacher and WLB Lance Briggs have endorsed him for the Coach of the Year award. QB Jay Cutler said this week that he's noticed a different, more assertive side of Smith compared to the one he encountered last season. The staff changes Smith made in the offseason have worked out well, and the coach has proven the assessment made by team president Ted Phillips about one year ago — that the Bears could still win with Smith — to be accurate. Indications are it won't be long before more years are tacked on to the end of his contract, which is set to expire after next season.

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