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Lovie puts off contract talk

Lovie Smith’s contract expires after 2011 seasbut he says he’ll address thlater. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Lovie Smith’s contract expires after the 2011 season, but he says he’ll address that later. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 5, 2011 3:55PM

Coach Lovie Smith, who preaches a one-game-at-a-time approach, refuses to look too far ahead.

So Smith insisted his contract, which expires after the 2011 season, isn’t on his radar, even though analysts have highlighted the topic with only four teams left in the Super Bowl ring hunt.

‘‘We don’t talk about contracts during the season,’’ Smith told the Sun-Times. ‘‘You spend all of your time doing what you can to help the team win. In the offseason, you evaluate everything — coaches are evaluated, players are evaluated then — but not during the football season.

‘‘So, that isn’t anything we’ve discussed. I wouldn’t discuss anything like that. What kind of guy would I be, wanting to discuss money and stuff while we’re trying to win football games?’’

In recent days, when asked about Smith’s contract status, players have expressed their hope that he gets a new deal.

‘‘He’s been a great coach my entire career . . . so I would love to see him get his extension and be here a long time,’’ Matt Forte said on ‘‘The Jim Rome Show.”

Added Brian Urlacher on the ‘‘Mike and Mike in the Morning’’ show on ESPN Radio, ‘‘I don’t see why he wouldn’t get an extension. He’s earned it, and I don’t want to play for any other coach.’’

The feeling is mutual, Smith said: ‘‘He’s the only middle linebacker that I would want. That’s for sure.’’

And Smith appreciated the sentiment.

‘‘It would be a concern if they didn’t want me to be their coach and have faith in my leadership,’’ Smith said. ‘‘But does it surprise me that our players would try to do something to help me? No. That’s what we have around here. We have a good thing going.’’

Smith is 66-51, including the postseason, since 2004, and he has led the Bears to three NFC North titles. And in that time, he said, his mind-set hasn’t changed.

‘‘Since the day I got here, I have worked every day like it was my last day,’’ he said. ‘‘I feel like we’re doing a good job around here. I’ve had a contract the entire time I’ve been here. I’ve been the head coach here a long time, and I plan on being the head coach here for a long time.’’

Talking turf

Charles Tillman became the latest Bear to criticize the Soldier Field turf. He censored himself before saying something inappropriate for publication.

‘‘Some people say it’s a [expletive] field, but say what you want,’’ Tillman said. ‘‘At the end of the day, you have to play. That’s what we do.’’

Urlacher said he doesn’t let the condition of the field change the way he plays.

‘‘You’re going to slip,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s all there is to it. It wasn’t as bad last week as I thought it would be.’’

Injury report

Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) and safety Chris Harris (hip) did not practice Thursday. For Harris, it was the second straight day he has missed practice. The veteran injured his hip in the first quarter of Sunday’s win over the Seattle Seahawks and took himself out of the game in the third quarter.

Harris has said repeatedly he will be OK to play Sunday.

Tinoisamoa, who missed four games this season with knee injuries, was held out for precautionary reasons.

Contributing: Neil Hayes

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