Last week, there were rumors that Mike Martz is a candidate for numerous collegiate head-coach openings. When asked about the possibility of him returning to the college ranks, Martz was mum.
"Anything about those kinds of things, I would never discuss," Martz said after last Wednesday's practice. "I have a job, and this job is the only one I can discuss. I appreciate what you are saying, but it would be very inappropriate for me to talk about anything like that."
It is believed that Arizona State, which recently parted ways with head coach Dennis Erickson after a 6-6 season, is seriously interested in Martz. He was an assistant coach at ASU from 1983-1991. He is also rumored as a candidate for the UCLA job.
After reaching the NFC Championship game last season, Bears management only offered Martz a one-year extension, which he quickly rejected. He's making just $1 million this season, well below the median for NFL offensive coordinators. It appears Chicago's lack of faith in him, coupled with their pocket-pinching ways, has facilitated his departure.
ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted yesterday afternoon:
"Bears OC Mike Martz is not expected to return to Chicago in 2012 after contract expires at the end of season. Colleges could be in play."
Usually, what Schefter says, goes. The Chicago Sun Times also confirmed the story, citing an unnamed source. When asked about it today, coach Lovie Smith said the rumors are false.
"If there's a change, that will be made by me," Smith said. "Nothing like that came from me. That must be made up."
Still, it appears very unlikely Martz will return next season, meaning Chicago's offense, which was built around his system, will see yet another drastic face lift, both in strategy and personnel. And Jay Cutler will be forced to work with his third offensive coordinator in four seasons as a Bear.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.