Bears GM: Smith’s status not decided

Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo on Sunday said the fate

of coach Lovie Smith has not yet been decided.

Before the game against the Ravens, Angelo shot down a report

from Comcast SportsNet/Chicago on Friday that cited unnamed sources

saying Smith would return for the next to last year of his contract

in 2010.

A review of Smith will be conducted after the Bears finish

the season against Minnesota and Detroit.

“At the end of the year, we sit down, we talk,” Angelo said.

After the Bears’ 31-7 loss to Baltimore, Smith said he didn’t

expect any resolution to his contractual situation during the

remainder of the regular season. The Bears close out the season

with a home game against Minnesota and a road game at Detroit.

“What’s a vote of confidence at this time? … You don’t talk

about things like that during the year,” Smith said. “[We’re]

disappointed in our play, disappointed in our record. I’m the head

football coach, so I’m sure a lot of people aren’t knocking down

the door wanting to pat me on the back.”

The Bears owe Smith $11 million for the next two seasons.

Angelo said the remainder of Smith’s contract will have no impact

on decisions the team makes.

“It’s not about money, it’s about doing what we feel we need

to do to be a better football team,” Angelo said.

Angelo also said the injury suffered by Pro Bowl middle

linebacker Brian Urlacher in the season’s first game would not be a

factor in any decisions that will be made about Smith.

“I’m not going to blame injuries on our season,” Angelo said.

“For the most part we stayed pretty healthy. Losing Urlacher right

at the beginning [was big], but we were able to overcome that.

“Like I said, injuries are a part of the game. If you have a

rash of injuries that’s one thing. We never really had a rash of

injuries.”

Among things Angelo said he will talk to Smith about is the

decision to act both as defensive coordinator and head coach this

season.

“Things didn’t come together like we wanted and there are a

lot of reasons why,” Angelo said. “It’s not just any one thing and

he may bring that [dual role] up, I don’t know.

“All this is premature, but we could get a real laundry list

of things that didn’t go quite the way we wanted them to go this

year.”

Quarterback Jay Cutler, who has thrown an NFL-high 25

interceptions, said players are aware of the uncertainty

surrounding Smith and his coaching staff.

“That’s how it goes. You’re never safe in this league,

especially when you’re losing ballgames, when you’re not playing to

the level you’re expected to. … That comes with the territory,”

Cutler said.

Angelo said winning and playing well in the final games will

be important in the decision process.

“We need to get a win, that’s very important right now,”

Angelo said. “And I feel like we’ve been competitive, we just

haven’t been able to win — and that’s the bottom line in our

business as we all know.”

If Smith is retained, he’ll have full ability to make a

change in assistant coaches. The Bears have struggled on offense

this season and the job security of offensive coordinator Ron

Turner has come under scrutiny in recent weeks.

“I’m evaluating myself too,” Angelo said. “But I do know

this: We all share into what happened this year. I’m not going to

sit here and put blame on any one thing.

“When we sit down and visit and I talk to ownership as well

as the coaches, our personnel people, it will be an organizational

decision on what we do going forward on everything.”