Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

Bears fire Smith despite 10 wins

The Bears reached the Super Bowl under coach Lovie Smith and won 10 games this season. But they missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons. As a result, he became one of seven coaches and five general mangers fired Monday.

Smith went 81-63 over nine seasons. He led them to the February 2007 Super Bowl (losing to the Colts) and two NFC title games (losing to the Packers in January 2011). But in 2011, a 7-3 start gave way to an 8-8 finish. This season, a 7-1 start gave way to a 10-6 finish.

Smith was unavailable for comment. But kick returner Devin Hester was so upset, he said he was considering retirement: "I've got my workers' comp papers in my pocket."

Is he hurt?

"Not physically," he said. "But mentally."

The Bears will interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, the Associated Press reported.

• In Philadelphia, owner Jeffrey Lurie fired Andy Reid, saying it was time "to move in a new direction." In 14 seasons, Reid reached four straight NFC title games and the February 2005 Super Bowl, a loss to the Patriots. But after making a big splash in free agency, the Eagles went 8-8 last season. This season, they went 4-12. Reid, who was unavailable for comment, met with his players, who gave him a standing ovation. "I feel we personally let him down," receiver Jeremy Maclin said. "It's a sad day."

• In San Diego, Norv Turner and A.J. Smith were fired after a third consecutive nonplayoff season. Fan anger and apathy over this season, which finished 7-9, led to four home games being blacked out. Turner went 56-40 in six seasons. Smith had been GM since 2003. "They both clearly understood why the decision was being made," owner Dean Spanos said. "At the beginning of this year, I really knew that if we did not get to the playoffs and at least win some games in the playoffs, I was most likely to make the change."

• In Kansas City, Mo., not only is Romeo Crennel out as coach, there is a new organizational structure. Owner Clark Hunt, son of founder Lamar Hunt, said he will hire the next coach. He added he hasn't decided the status of GM Scott Pioli. Crennel replaced the fired Todd Haley last season and went 2-1. But this season, the Chiefs went 2-14 to earn the top overall pick. "The NFL is a performance-based league," Crennel said in a statement he released. "And we weren't able to win."

• In Orchard Park, N.Y., the Bills fired Chan Gailey after three losing seasons as coach. The season started with high hopes after signing star defensive end Mario Williams to a $100 million contract. But they missed the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season, the NFL's longest active drought. Gailey's eyes welled with tears when he credited Bills fans for their loyalty and Buffalo for being a passionate football city: "This will probably be … the first place that's ever fired me that I'll pull for."

• In Cleveland, new owner Jimmy Haslam previously hinted Pat Shurmur (9-23 in two seasons) and Tom Heckert (GM for three seasons) would be fired. The Browns' next coach will be their sixth since 1999. "We're well aware that this has been a carousel," Haslam said. "It's our job to … bring stability long term for the organization."

• In Tempe, Ariz., Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves are out as coach and GM, respectively, less than three years after reaching the Super Bowl. Of the Cardinals' three winning seasons over the past 28 years, two came under Whisenhunt, who went 45-51 in six seasons. This season, Arizona lost 11 of 12 after a 4-0 start. Graves had been part of the organization for 16 years and GM since 2007. President Michael Bidwill, son of owner Bill Bidwill, cited a 28-36 record since losing to the Steelers in February 2009. "It came down to wins and losses," he said, "and the direction I felt like the team was going." Bidwell said he will talk to McCoy about the coaching job and has reached out to Reid.

• In Florham Park, N.J., Mike Tannenbaum is out after seven seasons as Jets GM but Rex Ryan will remain the coach. The Jets reached two AFC title games under Tannenbaum but were in turmoil from the moment they acquired quarterback Tim Tebow in March. They lost their final four games to finish 6-10. "My goal every year as owner is to build a team that wins consistently," Jets owner Woody Johnson said. "This year, we failed to achieve that goal."

• In Jacksonville, Gene Smith is out after four years as GM. He had been with the team since its inception in 1994, working his way up from regional scout. But the Jaguars went 22-42 with him as GM. "Our fans have been remarkably loyal over the years," said owner Shad Khan, who will decide coach Mike Mularkey's fate after he hires a GM. "We simply must do better for our fans."

Browns: Running back Trent Richardson said he played nine games with two broken ribs sustained Oct. 14. He sat out Sunday with a sprained left ankle.

49ers: Brandon Jacobs, suspended for the final three games after complaining about his playing time, was waived. He had five carries for 7 yards in two games. Even if claimed, Jacobs is ineligible for the playoffs.

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