Chandler to serve as No. 3 QB

Originally Published: November 28, 2003
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Banished to the bench earlier this season on the pretense of injury, Chicago Bears quarterback Kordell Stewart will return to the lineup Sunday after officials determined that a shoulder injury to Chris Chandler will keep him from starting.

Injured in last week's game, Chandler has not practiced all week, and will serve as the Bears' third quarterback for the home matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

"He threw the ball a little bit today," Jauron said about Chandler after practice Friday. "He didn't feel like he could really cut it loose."

Ironically, the Cardinals were one of the teams that Stewart considered as an unrestricted free agent this spring. And Arizona quarterback Jeff Blake likely would have been signed by the Bears had they not added Stewart with a two-year contract.

Stewart started the first five games this year for the Bears, posting a 1-4 record, before he was replaced by Chandler. At the time, coach Dick Jauron claimed the demotion came as a result of an injury, but sources subsequently confirmed that Stewart would have been benched even if he was healthy.

There was some feeling that Chandler, who was forced to leave last week's victory at Denver with a sprained shoulder, would be able to face the Cardinals. But his shoulder did not respond well to treatment and he was unable to work at all in practice.

Rookie Rex Grossman, the man many fans feel should be starting, will serve as the No. 2 quarterback this week. One of the team's two first-round draft choices, Grossman has yet to play this season. Jauron indicated he will not use Grossman as the starter until after the Bears are officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Stewart has completed 82 of 159 passes for 792 yards, with four touchdown passes and seven interceptions this year, and a quarterback rating of 55.9. He was effective at times last week, as much with his feet as his arm, in taking over for Chandler and directing the upset over the Broncos. Chandler has completed 101 of 175 passes for three touchdowns and seven interceptions, and his passer rating is 62.3.

In his five previous starts, Stewart threw for more than 200 yards just one time, and he completed more than 14 passes in only one outing.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.