Ogunleye, Hillenmeyer support Smith
Defensive veterans think coach should remain for 2010 season
LAKE FOREST, Ill. - After the Bears' season-ending win over the Detroit Lions Sunday, Lovie Smith said he expects to be back as head coach until someone tells him otherwise.
On Monday at Halas Hall, players expressed support for their head coach.
"I know that across the locker room that we think that he should be here," Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer said after a team meeting with Smith. "I'm under the impression that he will be. I certainly hope he will be. And that's the way he talked to us today."
"In this league, any coach can do it," Ogunleye said, adding that a coach needs a little bit of luck and the right guys playing well. "At the end of the day, it comes on us as the players. We just weren't consistent enough."
Since going to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, the Bears have compiled a 23-25 record. Despite missing the playoffs for the third straight year, Hillenmeyer said he "would hate to see a change" at head coach.
"Lovie has control of this team," Hillenmeyer said. "I think that regardless of whether the last two games mattered from a public perspective or not, they prove that he still had the team. He still has the team."
Hillenmeyer disagreed with the notion that the Bears need a more emotional coach to motivate them.
"Just because he's not a screamer and he's not a guy who's going to rant and rave a lot, it doesn't mean that he's not a tough coach," Hillenmeyer said. "If that's what people are worried about, then I think that that perception of him is wrong."