LB coach Nickerson resigns

There will be some turnover on coach Lovie Smiths staff afterall.

The Sun-Times learned Tuesday linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson will not return to the Bears for the 2008 season, leaving after one season of working under Smith, who was his position coach for a stretch during the prime of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A player said Nickerson resigned.

Smith said last week he would like his entire staff to return unless members had the opportunity for a promotion elsewhere.

“As a whole, linebacker-wise, I thought we played OK sometimes better than others, Smith said in his postseason address Dec. 31. “Brian [Urlacher] really finished up strong the last three weeks of the season. He played the type of ball that were accustomed to him playing. I felt that Lance [Briggs] was fairly steady throughout the year as was Hunter [Hillenmeyer].

Nickersons departure means Smith will have to hire the teams fifth linebackers coach in eight seasons. Urlacher, who missed out on the Pro Bowl for the first time in a season in which he did not miss any games, has worked previously with Dale Lindsey (2000-01), Gary Moeller (2003-03), Bob Babich (2004-06) and Nickerson (07).

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