“It’s just time to move on again, so I will move on and I will prosper. I will bounce back. I will get an opportunity,” Rivera said during a conference call before his Chargers’ job was announced. But the decision by Bears coach Lovie Smith not to keep Rivera came as a surprise to many, especially the timing – a little more than two weeks since the Bears lost the Super Bowl. Rivera said he never started talks on a new contract with Chicago. Smith, who has a year left on his contract and could be in line for an extension, said he would move quickly to replace Rivera. Linebackers coach Bob Babich is considered a top candidate. The Bears also hired Luke Butkus as their assistant offensive line coach. He is the nephew of Dick Butkus, the former Hall of Fame middle linebacker with the team. Freeney not free from Colts: The Indianapolis Colts made defensive end Dwight Freeney their franchise player, keeping him with the Super Bowl champions for at least one more season while they work on a long-term contract. Chicago defensive coordinator Ron Rivera was out of a job, but not for long. Just hours after the Bears announced Monday he wouldn’t be retained, the San Diego Chargers gave him a two-year contract to coach their linebackers. Rivera, who has talked with eight NFL teams about their head coaching positions over the past two seasons, had a three-year contract with the Bears that was set to expire next week. Freeney, a first-round draft pick in 2002, missed the ProBowl this year for the first time since his rookie season. He was held to a career-low 5 sacks while fighting shoulder and leg injuries. The franchise tag means the Colts could keep him by matching any offer sheet he might sign with another team. If they chose not to match it, the Colts would get the other team’s first-round draft picks in 2007 and 2008 as compensation. Falcons lineman arrested: Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Jonathan Babineaux was arrested in Lawrenceville, Ga., by Gwinnett County police and charged with one count of felony animal abuse. Gwinnett County police spokesman Darren Moloney said Babineaux was arrested early Monday. Moloney said he did not know any specifics about the case and a report and details concerning the case would not be released Monday. Panthers release key reserve: The Carolina Panthers made their first move of the offseason to clear salary cap space by releasing veteran defensive end Al Wallace. Wallace was a key reserve in 2006, but was scheduled to count almost $2 million against the salary cap next season. Releasing him clears more than $1 million in cap space. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! After it was announced he wouldn’t be coming back to the Bears, Rivera vowed he would land another job. And he did, getting a deal to join new Chargers coach Norv Turner. Rivera had just interviewed for San Diego’s head coaching job last weekend.