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GM Phil Emery says Bears have not talked contract with coach Lovie Smith

Bears general manager Phil Emery didn’t close the door. But he laughed off a question about the Bears opening up negotiations with coach Lovie Smith on a new deal.

Asked to shed light on a report suggesting the two sides have opened discussions, Emery said, “That’s an interesting word, light, because I kind of took that lighthearted when I heard it.

“I said, ‘Geez, even if that was true, when would we have gotten that done?’ Coach Smith is very focused on improving his team on a daily basis. All the things that he does in terms of myself, my mindset is with the personnel group and working with the coaches and making sure we have the right people on the roster on a daily basis, going out to colleges, doing visitations, getting ready for the next NFL draft,” Emery said. “There’s not enough hours in the day to have those kind of conversations.”

The Bears, though, have provided players contracts during the season. Asked if he would keep that tradition going, Emery said, “Again, I said this at the beginning of the camp, my preference is to do these things at the end of the year.

“There may be a situation where it’s to the club’s advantage and the player’s advantage to do something during the season, but my preference and most often that’s better to wait until the end of the year until you have a full evaluation in moving forward with that. That applies not only to our players but to our head coach and our coaching staff.”