Lovie Smith left town without a word. But he resurfaced on ESPN's ''NFL Live'' on Thursday and said he will take this season off and ''get back in it'' next season.
''My plan was to sit back take a little time off -- get to know the family a little bit better. Study football and do some things I never had a chance to do,'' Smith said. ''That was a base part of the plan. But I'm not retired. I'm just going to take htis year off and get back in it next year.''
Here's the rest of his interview on ''NFL Live''
What does it feel like to be on the outside as the 2014 NFL season begins with mini-camps and the draft?
''When you've been in something as long as I have, you're going to miss some aspects of it. But you look at it from a fan's point of view. I know mini-camps are going on. You have the draft coming up. That's an exciting time. I can just enjoy it from a different perspective.''
What did Brian Urlacher mean to the Bears?
''So much. You look at every organization, there's a face of the franchise. There can't be a better player to represent an organization than Brian Urlacher has on the field. My nine years there, he was our [middle] linebacker, he did some much, a coach on the field. Great guy. So it'll be different not seeing No. 54 there. But with time things change and this is a different year.''
How about Jay Cutler?
''Same thing as I talked about [with Urlacher] -- important guys to every franchise. You have to have that quarterback in place and Chicago has that in Jay Cutler. He can do everything you're looking for and expect a quarterback to do. Great arm. Mobile guy in the pocket. And as a quarterback you want to get to your contract year like he has and play your best ball.''
Is Cutler misunderstood?
''It's hard to say whether he's misunderstood or not. When you're in that position you get criticized a lot. Everything you do is watched and that's been the case with Jay. There have been some incidents where he would probably like for them not to have happened that way. That's just a part of it. I know his teammates have his back and they're expecting big things from him this year.''
Devin Hester is only on special teams this year. Is that the right move?
''I think whenever you can get the ball in Devin Hester's hands, it's a good thing. You start off with him being a returner. He's the greatest returner of all time. What I tried to do when I was there, I wanted that and to get him [the ball] a little bit more. It hasn't turned out that way. I just think you need him on your football team in some kind of way.''
What will you not miss this season?
''I'm going to miss quite a bit. But again, I'm just going into a different role this year as a fan and hopefully I can [get] all those football fixes that you need that I'll be able to get looking at it from a different perspective.''