For some the reaction was anger.I mean the media, the false fans, you all got what you all wanted, said wide receiver Devin Hester. The majority of you all wanted him out. Players as players, we wanted him in. I guess the fans -- the false fans -- out-ruled us...I thought he was a great coach, probably one of the best coaches Ive ever been around. He brought me in...Im going to go home and get away from football right now. I dont even know if I want to play again, man. Its been on my mind now for two years now.Defensive tackle Henry Melton slowly cleaned out his locker stall, placing items in the standard-issue garbage bag. But he also gave perhaps the clearest indication of how Bears players were feeling about the firing of Lovie Smith, for many the only head coach they have had in the NFL.I dont want to talk about it, Melton said quietly, the emotion very apparent as his voice wavered ever so slightly.Said quarterback Jay Cutler: Everyones surprised and shocked. 10-6 didnt get it done this year so its unfortunate.Smith was fired earlier Monday morning and met with his former players as a group at 11 a.m. to give them the news. It was a difficult moment and not one that many of his players neither agreed with nor understood.Even being in the situation of going from 7-1 to out of the playoffs didnt completely prepare some for what was coming.It hasnt all set yet, said tight end Kellen Davis. Coach Smith...crazy. Didnt see that coming, not one bit. It stinks being out of the playoffs but...You win 10 games, thats not an easy thing to do. A lot of changes coming this offseason.Indeed, because of the 10 wins, the 18 games over .500 for his tenure, the performance of what perennially has been one of the NFLs best defense, the dismissal was not a case of a just end of an era.Unfair. Unfair, said defensive tackle Amobi Okoye. I get it. I do get it. Ive been released and I get it.
Accountability feltSmith was done in primarily by failures on the part of his offense. To their credit, members of that unit felt a share of responsibility for the Smith firing.Absolutely. Absolutely, said Cutler. I take a lot of pride in the way that I play, and offensively, we didnt show up in the last four years for him. A lot of that blame is going to be on me. As soon as I heard he was fired, there was instant regret on what we could have done, what we should have done, offensively.Seeing Smith take the fall for breakdowns and failures on the field hurt.Its a tough situation to be in, to see a great man, a great coach, have to sit in front of a room and do that, said center and co-captain Roberto Garza. But this is the NFL. It happens. Unfortunately we put ourselves in this situation.And, in the world of NFL accountability, their head coach and staff as well.