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Bears’ Mike Martz likely out after this season—source

It’s highly unlikely Mike Martz will return to the Bears in 2012, according to a NFL source.

The offensive coordinator has considered his departure from the Bears when his contract expires after this season a foregone conclusion since the Bears offered him only a one-year extension of his existing contract after the team reached the NFC Championship Game last season.

Martz is currently making $1 million per year, which is below the median for offensive coordinators. Although it’s possible the Bears could offer him a lucrative multi-year extension after this season, that scenario is considered unlikely, according to the source.

The Bears seeming tepid interest in Martz returning and the dearth of head coaching candidates at the college and NFL levels has the former St. Louis Rams coach surveying the field for his next opportunity. Industry insiders claim a slew of firings at both the professional and collegiate level in recent years has greatly reduced attractive head-coaching candidates. In such a climate, a coach with Martz’s experience as both a head coach and a coordinator who won a Super Bowl ring with the Rams in 1999, could be in high demand.

Last season, Martz acknowledged he wanted to be a head coach again. Earlier this week, Martz refused to comment about being linked to openings at UCLA and Arizona State.

Martz’s one-plus seasons with the Bears have been controversial as well as productive. The Bears offense wobbled at the beginning of last season and again this year before hitting stride. Martz’s big-play offense resulted in the Bears being the league’s quickest scoring team last season with 58 scoring drives averaging three minutes, two seconds. His boom-and-bust approach has also been highly criticized because of high sack totals, inflexibility, a lack of balance between run and pass and unorthodox play-calling.

The Bears had scored 30 points in three straight games this season before quarterback Jay Cutler broke his thumb in a victory over the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 20.



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