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Bears sign coach Lovie Smith through 2013

Lovie Smith

Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith watches his team play during the first half an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


Bears coach Lovie Smith was under contract through 2011. The last time he was entering a lame-duck year, he received a four-year extension. This time, there were questions as to whether he had done enough to get another new deal.

In the end, the Bears found a compromise, giving Smith security but only half the security he received four years ago.

The team announced Friday morning that Smith has received a two-year extension.

The announcement comes roughly an hour before Smith takes the podium at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. And it necessarily cuts off any questions regarding whether he’ll get an extension.

Instead, the assembled media will be asking him why he received only a two-year extension.

As a practical matter, the two-year extension means that, if the Bears collapse in 2011, the buyout will consist only of two years’ pay. If the collapse comes in 2012, the Bears will owe him only one more season of salary if they move on by moving Smith out.