Bears add a year to Mike Tice's contract

The Chicago Bears have answered the question we asked Tuesday. After denying offensive line coach Mike Tice permission to interview for a promotion with the Tennessee Titans, the Bears added a year to his contract. He is now signed through 2012.

Contracts for NFL assistants are almost always guaranteed, although the Bears are among the teams who might reduce their pay in the event of a lockout. Regardless, Tice was quoted on the Bears' website as saying: "I look forward to continuing the progress we made on the offensive line in 2010. Our guys are motivated and I am excited to get back to work with them."

The Titans wanted to interview Tice for their open offensive coordinator job and were serious about moving quickly. Less than 24 hours after the Bears denied their request for an interview, the Titans hired Chris Palmer for the job.

The team also announced contract extensions for three other assistant coaches: running backs coach Tim Spencer, linebackers coach Bob Babich and secondary coach Jon Hoke. The only change for the 2011 staff is the hiring of Mike Phair as the defensive line coach, replacing Eric Washington.

The big question is when the Bears will complete negotiations with coach Lovie Smith, whose current deal is set to expire after the 2011 season.