Smith Not One to Complain

Even though Lovie Smith is the reigning Coach of the Year, he's the lowest paid coach in the NFC North. In the midst of his players angling for bigger contracts, Smith's trying to keep quiet about his situation.

Smith is entering the third year of a four-year deal, which averages an annual salary of $1.35 million. The rest of the coaches in the division all are in their first year with their respective clubs, but Smith makes less money than Brad Childress (Vikings), Rob Marinelli (Lions) or Mike McCarthy (Packers).

"I have a contract that I signed when I got here, I feel good about it. My contract is no issue," Smith said. "I'm just glad to be the head coach of the Chicago Bears every day I come into work. We have an outstanding team. We can't wait for training camp to start and go from there. That's the way I am going to answer those questions from here on out."

With Lance Briggs and Thomas Jones skipping all 14 organized team activities in an attempt to send a message to the organization about their contract situation, Smith never contemplated taking the same path.

"It never crossed my mind," Smith said. "Once the team is out here, I want to be a part of it. You know what happens when you miss a day, you find out practice goes on with out you, so I don't want them to get too comfortable with me not being here."

Smith will likely be in line for an extension if the Bears can make a return trip to the playoffs and find some success in the postseason. However, he will have to deal with something that hasn't been an issue in past seasons, high expectations.

"We're not going to handle it any differently," Smith said. "Last year we talked about having a good season and winning the division and things like that and we're talking about the same thing now. We know what it feels like. We know there are changes, it's a different year, but we feel like it's a good ball club."

Medical Report
When the Bears open training camp on July 27, it appears three players may be unable to practice because of injuries. The status of fullback Bryan Johnson (foot), safety Brandon McGowan (knee) and defensive tackle Tank Johnson (quadriceps) is in doubt.

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