Bears deny rift with NBC

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears deny any rift with NBC after it was reported the team turned down the network's request to interview general manager Jerry Angelo, coach Lovie Smith and quarterback Jay Cutler in advance of Sunday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"You know I'm trying to figure out where that all came from," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "We try to do whatever we can for anyone that's coming in.

"We've played quite a few Sunday night games, so there's not a whole lot more for us to talk about. We're making our players available right up until game time. But as far as participating an awful lot right now, it's kind of time for us to play football. We try to do as many interviews as we can during game week, but once you get a closer to it, we're kind of reeling things in a little bit."

This will be the fourth time the Bears will play on Sunday Night Football, including a preseason game against the Denver Broncos, and games against the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons.

"Nobody had any issues on either side," Bears spokesman Scott Hagel said. "We love working with NBC, and we love having our games on national television. NBC and the Bears have always been on the same page."

The issue arose after the network informed the Bears of a planned piece on Cutler's rocky season, and how expectations were so high at the beginning of the year. NBC wanted to speak with the quarterback, Smith and Angelo for the segment.

"What else is left to be said about the subject?" Hagel said. "We just need to play better."

Hagel pointed out the Bears made Cutler available to the network before each of their three previous Sunday night appearances.

An NBC Sports spokesperson released the following statement on the matter: "Our job is always to tell the story of the event. To inform our viewers across the nation."