Now that he's turned around the St. Louis Rams' defense, Lovie Smith is taking on the Chicago Bears.
Smith was hired yesterday as the Bears' head coach, agreeing to a four-year deal. He replaces Dick Jauron, fired Dec. 29.
Smith will be introduced at a news conference today. He was in St. Louis yesterday and not available for comment.
"There's a position right for everyone," he said Tuesday. "And I'm hoping this position is what is right for me."
The Bears have had just one winning season in the last eight, and haven't won a playoff game since 1995. Smith will be the team's third coach in six years -- fourth if you count that botched attempt to hire Dave McGinnis in 1999.
Smith was the defensive coordinator in St. Louis the past three seasons. The Rams had one of the NFL's worst defenses when Smith arrived, allowing a whopping 471 points in 2000. One year later, St. Louis had the league's third-best defense, giving up 273 points -- a reduction of 198 -- on the way to the Super Bowl.
The Rams were 16th in the NFL this season, allowing 315.8 yards a game. But their 46 takeaways led the league, and they had four players with four interceptions apiece.
"It's a terrific opportunity for Lovie," Rams coach Mike Martz said. "I'm excited for Lovie, and I'm also excited for the Bears' organization. I'm not sure they fully realize the quality individual and the professional they are getting."
Smith is the first black head coach in Bears history and the fifth black head coach in the league.There have never been more than three black head coaches in a season before.
Bills tab Mularkey
Mike Mularkey's innovative offensive approach helped sell him to Bills president and general manager Tom Donahoe.
Donahoe tapped Mularkey to be the team's 13th coach in history and will officially introduce him at a news conference scheduled for this afternoon. Terms of the deal have not been released.
At 42, Mularkey will be one of the youngest coaches in the league after being an assistant for 10 years, the last three as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator. In 2001, Mularkey helped quarterback Kordell Stewart have one of his best seasons as a pro, and the Steelers became the top-ranked rushing team. The following season, Mularkey resurrected quarterback Tommy Maddox's career as the former XFL MVP had 20 touchdowns in leading the Steelers into the playoffs.
He gets a fresh challenge in Buffalo. This season, the Bills had 4,348 yards in offense, seven better than the franchise-low, and managed 243 points, the second-fewest in a 16-game season. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe threw for just 11 touchdowns, his fewest since the 2001 season when he played in just two games . . . San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving early in San Jose, Calif., a jail spokesman said. Garcia, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, is scheduled to make a court appearance March 1, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office.