Bears extend Mike Tice, others
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears announced contract extensions on Wednesday for four assistant coaches: offensive line coach Mike Tice, running backs coach Tim Spencer, linebackers coach Bob Babich and secondary coach Jon Hoke.
Tice, who was denied permission to interview for the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator position, had an extra year tacked on his deal and is now under contract with the Bears through the 2012 season.
Tice, a 15-year NFL coaching veteran, arrived in Chicago prior to the 2010 offseason after spending four seasons (2006-09) in Jacksonville where he coached tight ends and had the title of assistant head coach. Although the Bears' offensive line surrendered 56 regular-season sacks, the team ran the ball effectively after the midway point of the year. With changes expected to occur on the offensive line heading into the 2011 season, Tice's presence on the coaching staff is considered a vital element to the teams' overall success moving forward.
Spencer and Hoke have been Bears assistants since Lovie Smith took over as head coach in 2004. Under Spencer, the Bears have had a 1,000 yard rusher in four of the past seven years -- Thomas Jones '05, '06 and Matt Forte '08, '10.
Babich was promoted to defensive coordinator following the Bears' Super Bowl appearance in 2006, but returned to solely coaching linebackers the past two years. Two Bears linebackers (Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs) made the Pro Bowl in 2010.
Hoke, a former defensive coordinator at the University of Florida, was hired by Smith before the 2009 campaign after serving as the Houston Texans defensive backs coach from 2001-08. Hoke interviewed in the offseason for the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator job.
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.