Bears’ GM, offensive coordinator leaving
Just hours after firing general manager Jerry Angelo, the Chicago Bears announced Tuesday the resignation of offensive coordinator Mike Martz.
The Bears did not disclose a reason for Martz’s exit, but the Chicago Tribune reported that Martz cited philosophical differences with head coach Lovie Smith over the direction of the offense
The organizational shakeup comes two days after the Bears finished an injury-riddled season at 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Martz was in the final year of his contract after spending two seasons in Chicago.
"After meeting with Mike this afternoon, we both felt it was best to move in different directions," Smith said in a statement. "I appreciate the job he and Shane did for us over the last two years."
Quarterbacks coach Shane Day, who was hired at the direction of Martz, will also be replaced.
One former Bears player took to Twitter to shed some light on the situation, pointing out tension within the organization in recent years.
"Egos and head butting led to the departures of Jerry Angelo and Mike Martz. Not a good situation the last 2 years. Awful environment to work," tweeted former Bears tight end Desmond Clark, who was released in September after eight seasons with the team.
The Bears were a strong playoff contender earlier this season at 7-3, but lost starting quarterback Jay Cutler to a broken thumb in a Week 11 win against the Chargers. His replacements, Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown, struggled mightily, and the team lost five in a row before a season-ending win Sunday at Minnesota.
In addition, the Bears also lost star running back Matt Forte two weeks after Cutler went down, further sinking the team’s playoff hopes.
The 26-year-old Forte, who made the Pro Bowl this season, just finished the last year of his rookie contract and has demanded a long-term deal. Forte’s status will be the key offseason decision for the next general manager.
Angelo was the Bears’ GM since 2001. During that period the Bears reached Super Bowl XLI, but were defeated by the Colts. Last season the Bears won the NFC North, but fell to the rival Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
Martz, 60, was head coach of the Rams from 2000-05, compiling a record of 53-32. Since then he also served as offensive coordinator with the Lions and 49ers.