By Laurence Holmes–

Even in Costa Rica, the news spread about Lovie Smith’s two-year contract extension. Before players who were on a fan trip, boarded a plane back to Chicago, they were ecstatic to hear that Smith had reached an agreement to stay on as Head Coach of the Chicago Bears.

“I’m happy for him,” said nickelback D.J. Moore. “He deserves it. He went from people thinking he would get fired to being one game away from the Superbowl. We’re all happy that he’s gonna be back.”

Johnny Knox echoed his teammates sentiment.

“I’ve been with him for my first 2 years. He’s a great coach and I’m glad that he’s going to be with us.”

Even though, Smith had 1-year left on his deal, players are happy that being a ‘lame duck’ won’t be hanging over his head. With there being NFL-Labor uncertainty having a stable coaching staff could be a key factor in success in the 2011 season.

“I think it’s great, that he’s back,” safety Craig Steltz said. “The great thing is that we know how everything works: how he runs practice, how he runs training camp. If there is a work stoppage we have an advantage. We can hit the ground running.”

Smith holds a 66-52 record as head coach of the Bears and has three 11-win seasons under his belt along with three division titles. Quarterback Caleb Hanie explained that the extension for Smith made perfect sense.

“You get rewarded for success,” Hanie said. “Last year we were one game away from the Superbowl and he got us there.”

Smith is the second-longest tenured coach in the NFC behind Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants.