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NFC NORTH More bad luck for Bears QB Grossman



Published: Sat, August 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The team will likely turn to Chad Hutchinson as the starting quarterback.

CHICAGO (AP) -- Rex Grossman had spent too many hours in rehab, in film sessions and on the practice field for the unthinkable to happen again. But his expression of disgust and disbelief as he was wheeled off the field said it all.

Grossman broke his left ankle Friday night in St. Louis, the second major injury for the Chicago Bears' promising but still unproven quarterback in as many seasons. He'll be out three to four months, which just about washes out the season.

The optimism that had been flowing since the Bears began camp last month was doused by the sight of Grossman leaving the field.

"It's not really going to do me any good to be angry," said Grossman, the Bears' first-round pick in 2003.

"All I can do is be positive and know that I've got another tough challenge in front of me. I'm going to get healthy. I'm just a positive person and I feel like this is another bad thing that happened, but I know great things are going to happen for me.

"I can just feel it. I feel like I've been through hell and I'm going to come out of it."

Waiting his turn

Grossman waited his turn as a rookie as Kordell Stewart and Chris Chandler started. He started the final three games and played decently but suffered a tendon injury in his right hand that forced him out of the season finale at Kansas City.

Grossman helped Chicago to a victory at Green Bay in the second week a year ago, but in Game 3 he was knocked out for the season after tearing a ligament in his knee at Minnesota.

In his absence, the Bears finished 5-11 while turning into the worst offense in the NFL, using backups Jonathan Quinn and Craig Krenzel before finally turning to Chad Hutchinson, signed when Grossman was hurt.

Now Hutchinson is No. 1 again -- he started nine game for the Cowboys in 2002 and was 1-4 for Chicago a year ago.

Another setback

That's the way things have gone in this dismal era for the Bears, who have had nine different starters at quarterback since 2000, beginning with Cade McNown, a first-round pick in 1999 who never made it. The others range from journeymen like Stewart, Chandler, Shane Matthews and Jim Miller to the green Krenzel last season.

As for Hutchinson, the former major league baseball pitcher and surfing enthusiast at least has training camp to get ready. He's got a better offensive line to protect than the one that surrendered a club-record 66 sacks a year ago.

"It's part of the game. I don't wish to get the starting spot in that manner but it's what happened. I'll roll from there," Hutchinson said.

"I've had a lot of reps where last year I had none, so I'm a lot more comfortable right now."

Looking for some veteran quarterback help a year ago, the Bears talked to Tim Couch and ended up signing Jeff George.

During the off-season, they were visited by Kurt Warner, Jay Fiedler and Brad Johnson, but made it clear they wanted Grossman as their starter.

Now Grossman is out and they don't have a veteran backup, a situation that will certainly expose general manager Jerry Angelo to the critics.




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