Lovie Smith was true to himself until the end, when he confirmed what many of his players already knew -- that he was out as the Bears head coach.
Smith didn't point any fingers, didn't raise his voice, and he didn't get overly emotional. For five minutes, he thanked his players for their effort and professionalism, he highlighted their relationships and noted that it was God's will that he would no longer coach the Bears.
"It's a tough situation to be in," center Roberto Garza said, "but obviously coach Lovie Smith is a great man, and he handled the situation like most people wouldn't.
"He is a great man, a great coach, and he did a lot of great things for this organization."
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said Smith impressed him in his closing comments.
"He earned even more respect from me, if it was possible. He handled it the right way," Cutler said. "A lot of character in that man, and it showed up.
"A classy, classy guy."
There was a range of emotions from the Bears. Several had reddened eyes, and others seemed angry by the team's decision.
"I was just sad. Sad to see a guy go, who took such great care of you," linebacker Nick Roach said. "He looked out for his team as if we were his children, and he did it for a lot of years.
"Just to have that type of leadership tossed out is just tough to deal with."
The players weren't ready to delve into their future, but Cutler was disappointed in his past.
"I take a lot of pride in the way that I play, and offensively, we didn't show up in the last four years for him. A lot of that blame is going to be on me," Cutler said. "As soon as I heard he was fired, there was instant regret on what we could have done, what we should have done, offensively."