Lovie Smith, fired after nine strong years as coach of the Chicago Bears, likely will not be out of work long. His first interview comes this weekend in Buffalo, where the Bills axed Chan Gailey and have begun their search for a new leader.
Many were surprised Smith was dismissed with another year left on his contract. His Bears won three division titles, two NFC title games and made the 2007 Super Bowl in his nine seasons. His record was 81-63. Chicago had second-half collapses the last two seasons and failed to make the playoffs this year after the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Green Bay Packers on the last day of the regular season. It was the fifth time in the last six years the post season began without the Bears.
The Bills flagship radio station, WGR, reported that Smith would travel to Buffalo this weekend to meet with the team’s brass about replacing Gailey.
The station reported that a slew of Bears’ assistant coaches who are signed with the team would follow Smith to Buffalo should he get the job there or anywhere else.
Bears’ management cited the team’s offensive woes as a reason for letting go Smith, and that would be a concern for any team that is interested in hiring him. So, his choice as an offensive coordinator would be pivotal in his hiring.
ESPN reported that Smith’s relationship with Cincinnati Bengals’ Hue Jackson could lure him away to run Smith’s offense. Jackson was once the Oakland Raiders’ head coach. He’s now leading the Bengals’ defensive secondary.
Jackson, regarded as one of the league’s sharpest offensive minds, took a job with the Raiders before attending a scheduled interview for the Bears’ offensive coordinator position in 2010. His pedigree would pair well with Smith’s reputation as a defensive genius. Jackson called plays for the Raiders in 2010 before being elevated to head coach the following season. Oakland was 8-8 in his one season but Jackson got fired after just one year. Considering it was the Raiders, that is not much of a surprise.