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GM Emery: Bears playoff absences prompted change

Bears general manager Phil Emery said Tuesday that his decision to fire Lovie Smith came down to two troubling patterns.

For one, the Bears missed the playoffs five times in the past six years under Smith. For another, the Bears were too inconsistent on offense in recent seasons.

“Our No. 1 goal always has to be to win championships,” Emery said. “And to win championships, we must be in contention on a consistent basis.”

A search for Smith’s replacement is under way, and Emery did not rule out any possibilities as he prepared to talk to candidates. He said the Bears’ next coach could come from the NFL or from the college ranks, and he said he would be open to an offensive-minded, defensive-minded or special teams-minded coach.

Emery said he made the decision to fire Smith, and chairman George McCaskey and team president Ted Phillips told him that the move was his to make. Likewise, Emery said, he would narrow the pool of candidates and hire the next head coach with McCaskey and Phillips’ consent.

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