Urlacher: Smith should be head coach again

Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher “would be shocked” if former head coach Lovie Smith isn’t leading a new team in 2014.

Urlacher ate lunch with Smith a couple of weeks ago, and told the “Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 that the coach isn’t as far removed from the game as some might think.

Fired in January with a year left on his contract after the Bears finished with a 10-6 record and missed the playoffs, Smith is still being paid by the organization.

“He’s not away from the game,” said Urlacher, now an analyst with Fox. “He’s still doing some stuff. He’s still preparing like he always has been. He’s watching film. He’s watching all the games just to try and stay (up) with what’s going on in the NFL, and trying to keep one leg up on those offenses with all the way they’re changing and stuff."

Why? Because Smith is expecting to make a return to the sidelines as a head coach at some point. During the offseason, a source told ESPN.com that Smith wasn’t interested in taking any jobs as a coordinator. But with the inevitable coaching vacancies that typically come up during the offseason, Smith could be looking to be a head coach again.

Urlacher thinks Smith should be the favorite for whatever openings arise.

“I would be shocked because he’s too good of a head coach to not be coaching a football team,” Urlacher said. “There’s always vacancies. Every year, people get fired. If he’s not at the top of the list, I’d be very surprised.”