Change best for Lovie and Bears

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- On Saturday night at the team hotel in Dearborn, Mich., I found myself on an elevator with Lovie Smith.

He was in a gregarious mood, the kind you don't see during press conferences and only on the sidelines after, say, a Devin Hester touchdown return. He was wearing a gray winter hat and a white dress shirt, laughing and joking with a Bears PR guy.

When the PR staffer got off the elevator, Smith nearly followed him, forgetting his own floor was higher up. When it was just the two of us, I asked him if he had a nice Christmas. He said he did. "I've never had a bad Christmas," he said, as only Lovie could.

Optimistic to the end. Smith, of course, can now say he has had a bad New Year's Eve.

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