Moon: Angelo likely to extend Lovie's contract


Moon: Angelo likely to extend Lovie's contract

Monday, Jan. 24, 2011
7:41 PM
By John Mullin

It is not a done deal, literally and figuratively, but the Bears run to the NFC Championship may have earned Bears head coach Lovie Smith a contract extension.

We very much want to extend Lovie and the job he has done and his staff, said general manager Jerry Angelo. Our intent is to extend Lovie. We wanted to wait until the season is over. The season is officially over for us. That will be part of the business at hand in these next several weeks.

The same sort of comment was once made by Angelo regarding an extension for then-coach Dick Jauron, which happened only after an acrimonious, bitter stretch of negotiations.

That is not expected in this situation. Smith was Angelos hire back in 2004 and Smith already was given one extension and hefty raise after the Bears reached the Super Bowl after the 2006 season.

The 2010 season was an overall positive, in Angelos estimation.

It was a success, Angelo said, laughing. Im still here.

Its not easy to get where weve gotten. You dont back into the NFC Championship game.

Get off Cutler
WATCH: Lovie Smith discusses the Jay Cutler injury

Like Smith, Angelo angrily reacted to questions about Jay Cutlers toughness and the Bears quarterback taking Twitter abuse from peers.

I think its crap, Angelo said. I thought the players were a union. If thats the way they unionize themselves, they have bigger issues than the ones they have with the owners. Im very disappointed in that. That to me is dirty pool. It is what it is. People are allowed to say what they want to say but that doesnt mean that its right. Its certainly not grounded.

The questions about Cutler never entirely went away even during Angelos overview wrap-up to the season. Angelo said that one reason that trading for a veteran quarterback was that an individual with NFL experience would be familiar with the pressures, although Chicago weather and fan base are tough on quarterbacks, perhaps because there have been so few good ones.

I cant even believe Im standing here talking about Jays toughness, Angelo said. Were trying to create some gray where theres no gray here.

Going forward

WATCH: CTL panel debates Cutler and other Bears' issues

The Bears officially hold the No. 29 pick of the 2011 NFL draft. The last time the Bears selected 29th they landed a serviceable offensive tackle, Mark Colombo, although Colombos NFL service went to Dallas after serious knee injuries early in his Chicago career.

Angelo typically has selected linemen, both offensive and defensive, with his earliest picks. That is expected to hold true to form this year as the Bears look to build up their fronts on both sides of the ball.

But its not like we have a lot of holes or needs to fill, Angelo said. The Bears have 21 starters under contract for 2011, with only strong-side linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa on an expiring contract.

Angelo said the organization is planning for the offseason based on expectations that a new collective bargaining agreement will be reached between the league and its players association.

John "Moon" Mullin is's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Matt Nagy is winning over his players by being himself

USA Today Sports Images

Matt Nagy is winning over his players by being himself

Despite losing 34 of his 48 games as the Bears’ head coach, John Fox’s players generally liked him and were disappointed to see him fired on New Year’s Day. That’s not to say they were blindsided by it — losing leads to people losing their jobs, even if the culture at Halas Hall had changed for the better following the disastrous end of the Marc Trestman-Phil Emery era. 

It was with that backdrop that Matt Nagy was offered and accepted the position of Bears head coach a week after Fox’s firing. Four and a half months later, Nagy has seemingly made a strong first impression on his new team, with one reason standing out among many: He’s genuine in who he is and what he does.

“I would say Nagy can be stern, and he can be playful also,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “I think when you’re a first-year coach, you want to win (over) your guys, and you want to be firm, and he’s doing that. You can’t really tell he’s a rookie coach or whatever. I feel like he was born for this, and he’s doing a great job.”

Granted, no player is going to publicly blast their new boss — especially not before he’s even coached a game yet. But veteran players also aren’t oblivious to who can and cannot work out as a head coach, and there haven’t been any “damning with faint praise” types of comments that were more common five years ago at the beginning of the Trestman era.

Will this win Nagy any games come September? No. But consider this sort of like team chemistry: It won't win a team anything, but if a team doesn't have it, it can be costly. 

“He’s a cool coach, man,” linebacker Danny Trevathan — who played for Fox in both Denver and Chicago — said. “He’s always giving us little details and smiling but we know he’s a hard worker just like we are. He’s up there working just like we are. He’s always putting us in the right position and he takes care of us. On the back end, where I come from, you take care of coaches like that. You go out and make plays for those coaches.”

From an observational standpoint, Nagy comes across as genuinely excited not just to be a head coach, but the head coach of the Bears. Players respect that approach — he's not coming in acting like a hired gun, and he's shown through these OTAs and practices that he cares about them, even if they haven't spent much time together yet. And he's also not strutting into Halas Hall every day with an over-inflated ego based on his promotion. That resonates, too. 

“I like the way he came in,” Trevathan said. “He came in humble but he was hungry. He came anxious, moving around in the meetings. I like that. That gets me fired up. I feel like we’ve got a good leader up here in the head coach.”

Anthony Miller sports Bears uniform at NFLPA Rookie Premiere

Anthony Miller sports Bears uniform at NFLPA Rookie Premiere

Anthony Miller has quickly become a fan favorite on social media. He has the confidence and swagger found in most top wide receivers and it comes through on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Miller was one of 40 players in attendance at the 2018 NFLPA Rookie Premiere where he not only learned about the business and marketing side of football, but also suited up in his Bears gameday uniform for the first time. Of course, he shared the moment on Twitter:

Panini America, a sports collectible company, snapped a picture of Miller with fellow rookie receiver Calvin Ridley (Falcons) and quarterback Mason Rudolph (Steelers):

Miller has become something of a standout for the Bears despite not playing a single snap. He's expected to have a big role in an offense that has several new pieces and roles that are up for grabs.

Miller will compete with former first-round pick Kevin White and free-agent addition Taylor Gabriel for reps opposite Allen Robinson. Miller has the necessary skill set to play as both an outside receiver and in the slot which should give him an even greater opportunity to be on the field quite a bit.

The Bears first three draft picks are all vying for starting jobs in 2018. Roquan Smith (first round) is a lock to start next to Danny Trevathan and James Daniels (second round) will start at guard. Miller should make it three-for-three in a draft class that could end up the best of Ryan Pace's tenure.