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Former Bears coach Lovie Smith’s plan for upcoming season: ‘Take a little time off’

Lovie Smith

Lovie Smith

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Updated: April 19, 2013 4:22PM



Mark Buehrle and A.J. Pierzynski paid for newspaper ads to say thanks. Dave Wannstedt and Dick Jauron at least said goodbye. But Lovie Smith left the Bears with nary a word.

The former Bears coach emerged from his self-imposed hibernation when he appeared on ESPN twice Thursday. He was on “SportsCenter” in the morning to talk about the NFL draft. He addressed his future on ‘‘NFL Live’’ in the afternoon, saying he plans to ‘‘enjoy [the 2013 season] from a different perspective’’ and coach again in 2014.

‘‘My plan was to sit back, take a little time off, get to know the family a little bit better. Study football and do some things I never had a chance to do,’’ Smith said. ‘‘That was a base part of the plan. But I’m not retired. I’m just going to take this year off and get back in it next year.’’

Smith was fired on Dec. 31 after the Bears finished 10-6 but missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. He will be paid $5 million by the Bears for the final year of his contract.

Smith said it will be different seeing the Bears without Brian Urlacher, who was not ­re-signed by the team.

‘‘There can’t be a better player to represent an organization than Brian Urlacher has on the field,’’ Smith said. ‘‘My nine years there, he was our [middle] linebacker. He did so much, a coach on the field. So it’ll be different not seeing No. 54 there. But with time, things change.’’



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