Bears' Smith schedules Monday learning session with Dungy

Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy stood on opposite sidelines four years ago, vying to become the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl championship.

Dungy and his Indianapolis Colts walked away with the prize that rainy February night in Miami, beating Smith's Chicago Bears 29-17, but there aren't hard feelings on either end. In fact, Dungy will stroll into Chicago's Halas Hall on Monday as Smith's invited guest.

"We're just going to talk football for a day," Smith, who served as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' linebackers coach under Dungy from 1996 to 2000, recently told the Chicago Tribune. "There aren't a whole lot of us still in our system who believe in it the way we do. We're pumped up about him coming."

The NFL lockout, which is in its third month, is keeping players from meeting with their coaches, so Smith is spending the time with his staff for what he calls "football enrichment." That includes daily clinics in which the offensive coaches teach the defensive coaches what they do, and vice versa. The coaches also have scouted their own team and its rivals, particularly the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

And then there will be the visit from Dungy, a former foe who'll dispense some friendly advice after two seasons away from coaching.

"We would like to have the players out here, but it's not like we don't have anything to do," said Smith, who had scheduled a minicamp this weekend but saw it canceled by the lockout. "I can't say I'm getting bored. It's the opposite. There is learning every day. It has been awesome."

Smith believes the Bears are close to claiming the Lombardi Trophy, but he knows they must leap a green-and-gold hurdle in the Packers, who won the NFC Championship Game in Chicago nearly five months ago.

"Everything has to be about beating our rival, as it is every year," Smith said. "And there is a little bit of added emphasis on it this year. They are at the top of the hill.

"We match up pretty good with them," Smith added. "Your gauge has to be the Super Bowl champion. We beat them here. They beat us there (and at Soldier Field in the playoffs). All three games could have gone either way. There should be some more classic matchups between the two of us. We can't wait."

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