Perception from around the league

From players to coaches everyone that has come in contact with Lovie Smith has given glowing reviews of the man and coach.

Mike Martz, St. Louis Rams coach
Lovie Smith was Martz's defensive coordinator since 2001

"All the qualities that make him an exceptional coordinator will also make him an exceptional head coach, with his leadership and knowledge of the game and his ability to communicate with the players. It's a terrific opportunity for Lovie. I'm excited for Lovie, and I'm also excited for the Bears' organization. I'm not sure they fully realize the quality individual and the professional they are getting. They will soon realize that and fully appreciate it."

Tony Dungy, Colts coach
Smith was Tampa Bay's linebackers coach under Dungy from 1996-2000

"First of all I'm very happy for Lovie Smith. I think the Bears have made a tremendous hire. There is no question in my mind he will be an outstanding coach in this league for a long time. "I think Lovie is a very good communicator. He is a guy who is going to motivate his players. He is also someone who is going to care about the players as individuals."

Herman Edwards, Jets coach
Smith coached at Tampa Bay while Edwards coached the Bucs defensive backs

"I think he'll do a great job. He's got some ties to Jerry Angelo and he's a guy who has worked his way up the ranks. He's been a great coordinator with the Rams and he's a great communicator.

"Lovie is a great choice. He brings character and leadership to the Chicago Bears. He has worked his way up the coaching ranks in college and in the pros. Lovie is a good teacher who gets the best out of his players."

Phillip Fulmer, Tennessee coach
Smith coached under Fulmer at Tennessee from 1993-94

"I'm really excited for Lovie Smith because he'll do a fantastic job. He's a great football coach, an excellent communicator and a true motivator. Obviously, he has done exceptionally well both at the collegiate and professional ranks and I wish him nothing but great success."

John Cooper, former Tulsa and Ohio State coach
Smith coached under Cooper at both schools

"He was a good enough player that he was a two-time All-American at the University of Tulsa; what more can I say about him?

"I gave him his first college coaching job at Tulsa and hired him again at Ohio State. He is everything I think of when I think of a head football coach for the Chicago Bears.

"He's been in the game and paid his dues. He's come up through the ranks and he deserves that opportunity."

Monte Kiffin, Tampa Bay defensive coordinator
Smith coached under Kiffin at Tampa Bay

"Lovie Smith is the total package. The Chicago Bears hired a real gem. I've had the opportunity to work with some very talented coaches, but Lovie Smith is special. He did an outstanding job as our linebackers coach. Lovie is very strong and a tremendous leader. He will work extremely well with his new players and staff."

Grant Wistrom, DE, Rams
Smith coached Wistrom at St. Louis from 2001-03

"I don't think Chicago could have hired a better person for this job. Lovie's the type of guy that can turn a program like Chicago around. He'll instill confidence in the team and he'll get the guys believing in themselves. On top of that, he's a fantastic coach and he's the kind of guy that you want to go out and play hard for."

Adam Archuleta, S, Rams
Smith coached Archuleta from 2001-03 overall

"Lovie is the best coach that I have ever had. If there was anyone who believed in me and wanted to give me a chance, it was him. I am sad to see him go, but he is going to be an outstanding head coach. Any player or any team would be lucky to have him as a coach."

Tyoka Jackson, DL, Rams
Smith coached Jackson at Tampa Bay and St. Louis

"I've known Lovie for eight years and when we got to St. Louis together we got closer and closer. We were friends in Tampa when I was a defensive lineman and he was the linebackers' coach, but we didn't become real close until we got to St. Louis when he was my defensive coordinator.

"He doesn't say a whole lot, but he expects a lot of you, which reminds me a lot of Tony Dungy. He's a very unique coach because he's very humble and he has a very understated demeanor, but he's a very demanding coach, which makes you want to play for him. I would say the same thing about Tony Dungy when I played for him. There's no doubt in my mind that he'll be successful for a long, long time in Chicago."

Derrick Brooks, LB, Tampa Bay
Smith was Brooks' position coach at Tampa Bay from 1996-2000

"I would like to congratulate the Chicago Bears organization. Jerry Angelo has hired one of the best coaches in America. In terms of the game, Lovie has an exceptional defensive mind, but he also finds a way of getting the most out of his players. He really helped elevate my game and certainly has been a very influential part of my career. I enjoyed our relationship during his time with the Buccaneers. I grew professionally as a player and enjoyed seeing him grow alongside me as a coach in becoming one of the best in the NFL."

Shawn Springs, CB, Seattle
Smith coached Springs at Ohio State as a junior in 1995

"I can tell you one thing that you're going to see from those guys, everybody is going to be to the ball. Chicago's defense is pretty good already. They're real physical, but wait 'til you see them now with Lovie.

"That is a great move for that organization. He is a great coach. One thing I like about him is that he is fair. He's tough, but I think he's had the most influence on me out of any coach I've ever had. Not only does he teach you about being a good football player, but when I was in college, he tells you how to do things right and teaches you to be a man as well."

Darren Woodson, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Smith recruited Woodson to play at Arizona State where he was his position coach

"He will do a great job, because he has that ability to get the very most out of the guys he's coaching. His players-regardless of their talent level-always play hard for him, and I believe that is the most important quality a head coach can have.

"Lovie Smith changed my life. He's probably the main reason I was able to become a successful person and a professional football player. He taught me as much about how to grow up and be a man as he did the importance of preparation and what it takes to win. His players will mature-on and off the field -- and they will play as hard as they possibly can for him. He will win."

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