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In Rex He Trusts
Peter King
January 29, 2007
Bears coach Lovie Smith showed saintly patience with passer Rex Grossman. The payoff: a trip to Miami for a shot at the title
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January 29, 2007

In Rex He Trusts

Bears coach Lovie Smith showed saintly patience with passer Rex Grossman. The payoff: a trip to Miami for a shot at the title

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"Rex made some decisions at times this year that weren't smart," Muhammad said. "I think he would admit that. But down the stretch he's done a great job of protecting the football. That's the maturation process of a young quarterback. He doesn't have to make the dangerous throw all the time. You saw that today."

Winning the NFC is one thing, but a Grossman-led team beating a Peyton Manning--led team in the Super Bowl is quite another. Who would believe that?

Lovie Smith would. After he finished defending Grossman in his office last week, the unflappable coach, sitting in a soft chair with one leg draped over the side, considered his great fortune. There had been news reports of the Bears' feeble efforts to re-sign Smith long term; he's the league's lowest-paid head coach at an annual salary of $1.35 million, and the team had offered to double that as part of multiyear deal. He declined, preferring to wait until after the season. Wise move. He's probably a $5 million-a-year man now, even in an organization noted for underpaying its coaches.

The money can wait. Smith is just reveling in the moment. "I'm the head coach of the Chicago Bears," he said. " George Halas's daughter [club executive Virginia McCaskey] is in the office right next door. This is the organization of George Halas, Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus. It's a great football town. We're still playing to win a Super Bowl. How can life be any better?"

With that, Smith pulled up his left sleeve a few inches. "Look at this," he said. He had goose bumps. You may not believe in the Bears' quarterback right now, but his coach does. And you should definitely believe in the coach.

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