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That's Their Story and They're Sticking to It

The Chicago Bears see themselves unified behind coach Matt Nagy despite reports he has already been told he's coaching his last game, and other claims he has lost the locker room.

If the Bears are reeling from a report Matt Nagy is done coaching  after Thursday's game, they're doing a great job disguising it.

From players to coaches, they waltzed right through the report from former Sun-Times news reporter Mark Konkol for Patch.com that said ownership has told Nagy the Lions Thanksgiving game is his final one on the sidelines. They brushed it entirely off as so much gossip.

"That is not accurate," Nagy said.

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor calls this the time of year for rumor and innuendo.

"I've been in the locker room before a game when a very well known national insider announced our coach was not going to be back," said offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, recalling his days in Cincinnati. "And players were on their phones getting messages, and I'm not saying that's the only reason we lost that day but we played like crap that day. And at the end of the year, not only was he not fired, but he got a new contract.

"And we're still waiting for the apology from that national insider. So the No. 1 thing I can do is my job, which is beat the Lions, period."

The report did not name a source although if Nagy were to be fired presumably it would be by GM Ryan Pace, if not board chairman George McCaskey or team president Ted Phillips doing the honors.

"I have great communication with ownership, with George and Ted and Ryan. But I have not had any discussions."

Nagy said he talks to all of them on a regular basis but that no such talk had been scheduled for this week.

"We have constant communication," he said. "I always think it's good and healthy and so we stayed on course. With the bye week and then with the short turnaround and with game prep, we have not (talked)."

Nagy couldn't say he has been assured he would coach out the remainder of this season.

"Again, my focus right now is on these players and on Detroit," he said. "That's it, you know, and I think that's my job as a head coach and a leader is to do that."

There have been constant calls for Nagy's firing on social media, chants at the Bears game and even a Chicago Bulls game. At a football game at northwest suburban Cary-Grove High School against Lake Forest, there also were chants and Nagy has a son playing for Lake Forest. The school publicly apologized to Nagy and Lake Forest over this. Nagy was in attendance.

"I did not hear that," said Nagy of the chanting. "There were some youth football kids after the game from their school that were asking for some pictures and hanging out and I’ll tell you this, every one of those kids said please and thank you."

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With less than four days to be ready for the game in Detroit on Thanksgiving, Bears players can't afford the distraction. 

Safety Tashaun Gipson said they remain engaged and in support of their coach, contrary to one web source saying Nagy had lost great support in the locker room.

"I haven't seen anything that's pointing towards the signs that guys have disengaged, or guys have checked out," Gipson said. "Like I said before, I've been in the league 10 years, I think I've had six losing seasons out of my 10 years, seven maybe. So obviously I know what losing feels like.

"I know what a losing locker room is like, and this is not that. I know our record indicates that, hey man, a lot of guys may be willing to check out, but that's not the energy, that’s not the atmosphere that I sense here."

Gipson said the feeling is "...no different than Weeks 1, 2, 3 and 4."

Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, who practiced on Tuesday for the first time since his hamstring injury against Detroit, is active on social media and on a basketball podcast with Jordan Schultz. It was Schultz who had been the one reporting dissension within the locker room.

"Anything that I wanted to get across has come from me, and it'll always be that way," Robinson said Tuesday at Halas Hall. "It'll never change. Anything I want to get accomplished, I want to say, I'm a grown-ass man. I can get stuff done myself."

And Robinson doesn't see the dissension which has been mentioned.

"Like I've said before, we have a very professional group," Robinson said. "Unfortunately this year we're more behind the 8-ball than we have been in prior years from a record standpoint. We've gone through some losing streaks and we've kinda withstood that and bounced back as a team. We have a resilient team, we have a resilient group.

"A lot of our core players who have been through those ups and downs are still here. We have the same group. Guys are going out there each and every day locked in, competing. Like I said before, the past Sunday and Monday should tell you where you're at. We've lost very, very winnable games."

Robinson said he heard about the firing report but no one in the locker room talked about it.

"For the most part, stuff that guys can’t control, we don’t really focus on that," Robinson said. "Obviously, we hear it, you can’t just avoid it. But at the same time, it’s much bigger things as far as us personally wanting to go out there on Thursday and be able to get a W."

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