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Bears cut ties with Smith

Lake Forest, Il (Sports Network) - The Chicago Bears parted ways with head coach Lovie Smith on Monday.

Smith, who led the Bears to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, was hired in 2004 and went 81-63 over nine regular seasons.

Chicago began the season 7-1, but closed the campaign 3-5 and missed the postseason for the fifth time in six years. The Bears were denied a playoff bid when the Minnesota Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

The Bears reached the NFC Championship Game after the 2010 season before losing to the Packers, but poor finishes by Chicago over its last two seasons has kept it out of the playoffs.

Chicago began 2011 7-3 until quarterback Jay Cutler got hurt, and the Bears never recovered and concluded the campaign with an 8-8 record.

Smith was also criticized for his inability to defeat the Packers, who have won eight of their last nine and six straight against Chicago.

12/31 12:18:59 ET