Lovie Smith extension in the works

Updated: January 24, 2011, 9:15 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith wants a contract extension, but he articulated those desires with hints rather than declarations.

Angelo We very much want to extend Lovie, and the job that he's done and the staff. Our focus, our intent is to extend Lovie.

-- Jerry Angelo

General manager Jerry Angelo, meanwhile, said an extension for Smith is in the works.

"We very much want to extend Lovie, and the job that he's done and the staff. Our focus, our intent is to extend Lovie," Angelo said Monday. "We wanted to wait until the season is over. That will be part of the business at hand in the next several weeks."

Smith played things coy when the subject of an extension was broached. Asked whether he'd like to receive a contract extension in the offseason, Smith said, "I love being the head football coach of the Chicago Bears every day. I've been here and hope to be there for many years to come."

Pressed further on the subject, Smith sidestepped the question of whether it would be difficult for him to take the team into the 2011 season without an extension.

"I think I answered your question right before," Smith said. "I love being the head coach here every day I've been here. I look forward to many years to come."

One year remains on Smith's four-year, $22 million extension signed in 2007, after the team reached Super Bowl XLI. The coach's contract situation remains one of several topics the organization will consider addressing in the coming weeks after Sunday's disappointing loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

Compounding matters could be uncertainty about whether there will even be a 2011 football season. The league's current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire March 4, and the threat of a potential lockout remains with the NFL's owners and players struggling to make substantial progress towards reaching a new agreement.

Those negotiations could slow down discussions between Smith and ownership about a possible extension.

"We'll be fine. We'll get into that," Angelo said. "We have a number of things on the agenda. When there's something to announce, we'll announce it."

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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