Lovie Smith got a two-year contract extension that the Bears didn’t have to give him, but worse, the Bears don’t seem to realize that and don’t seem to realize that contract extension has been a hall pass for the coach.


At least, that’s the way I interpret Bears President Ted Phillips’ response to Trib Football Guru Dan Pompei in today’s Q&A.


Here’s Phillips’ answer about being happy Smith is locked up with a  two-year extension:


“Now he can look longer term. He seems satisfied, I'm ecstatic. It was smooth, there were no issues. I wanted to head into the offseason with him under wraps, and we were able to accomplish that. He's always shown a real pride in being the head coach of the Bears, and we're proud to have him back.’’


Didn’t Phillips learn anything? The last thing you want is Smith looking “longer term.’’ The Bears shouldn’t want him “satisfied.’’


The last time the Bears gave Smith a contract extension came after he lost the Super Bowl. Phillips gave Smith another four years and a lot more power. Smith gave the Bears zip for three years --- no division titles, no playoffs, no nothing except the unofficial record for shuffling assistant coaches.


Smith could just sit back, look “longer term’’ and manage his little fiefdom, which proved to be inffective and contractually protected. Here’s two years of Bob Babich as the defensive coordinator, people. Whaddaya think of that? How’d that “satisfied’’ thing work out?


It would get so bad that Smith would fire himself as defensive coordinator and prove to be so wrong about assistant coaches. He continually brought in coaches he indentified as “teachers,’’ not necessarily NFL coaches, and then he found himself in a win-or-walk season, and suddenly, his staff was overrun with former head coaches.


I’m not saying Smith doesn’t care or doesn’t try until he has to cram for the final. But we’ve seen his actions supercede his usually lame and vanilla words when urgency ruled last year. Accountability came first and went public. Players got benched or cut. Smith acted as if his job depended on it, and his team proved opportunistic when it rained luck. Sounds like a good combination, but it started with Smith coaching for his job, which is now out of the equation, which historically hasn’t been a good thing.


Phillips ended his summation of Smith by saying he was “proud to have him back.’’ Really? Where was he going? Nowhere, that’s where.