Rivera was not Smith's first choice as defensive coordinator when he arrived in Chicago in 2004. Smith wanted to hire Rod Marinelli, but Tampa Bay would not let him out of his contract.
So the Bears front office encouraged Smith to bring in Rivera, who played his entire nine-year career with the organization. Rivera was the coordinator for three years, including in 2006 when the Bears went to the Super Bowl.
But Smith chose not to renew Rivera's contract after the Super Bowl season. Instead, he promoted Bob Babich, and Rivera was hired as a linebackers coach in San Diego.
When a reporter asked Smith about not retaining Rivera, Smith said: “I'll tell you, we're really living in the past today.”
“Ron Rivera did a great job for us when he was here,” Smith added. “Each year, you as a head coach decide on what direction you're going forward. That's what I decided. I went in a different direction there.
“No more than that – nothing personal. I wasn't disappointed in the job he did here. It's worked out for both of us.”
Lovie Smith's remarks on Greg Olsen are at the link too and it reads like he took a shot at Olsen too by saying he's just a pass-catching tight end.
With as often as we trade with Chicago and as often as our players go there and vice versa, it seems like there's bad blood between lots of people on both teams, both players and coaches. Should be fun on Sunday.