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Bears fire head coach Lovie Smith

Published: Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 10:18 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 11:24 a.m. CST

Lovie Smith is out.

The Bears have confirmed that they have fired Smith after nine seasons.

Bears players are expected to address media members after 11 a.m. today.

Smith was 81-63 for a .563 winning percentage since 2004 with the Bears, including three NFC North division titles and four seasons with double-digit wins.

But six seasons have passed since Smith guided the Bears to Super Bowl XLI in South Florida, where they lost by 12 points to the Indianapolis Colts. Since that Super Bowl appearance, the Bears have missed the playoffs five times in six years.

Such playoff droughts also proved costly for previous coaches at Halas Hall and across the NFL. The Bears fired Smith’s predecessor, Dick Jauron, after he missed the playoffs four times in five seasons. Jauron had succeeded Dave Wannstedt, who was dismissed after missing the playoffs five times in six seasons.

It’s a tough reality, but one which every coach accepts as part of his job description.

Smith acknowledged his high-stakes profession three days ago as he prepared for Detroit. Although his nine-year tenure with the Bears was longer than all but three active coaches, he became familiar with rumors and uncertainty about his job.

“It’s the nature of the game, as I see it,” Smith said. “And for us, it’s about getting into the playoffs. You get into the playoffs, and a new season starts.”

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