<
>

Uncertain about future, Grossman says he'd like to be back with Bears

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Rex Grossman was in the Super Bowl only
10 months ago. Now his future with the Chicago Bears is uncertain.
His season is likely over after spraining his left knee and he
doesn't have a contract for next year.

"I'd like to be back here if I'm wanted back here," Grossman
said Tuesday. "We'll see what goes on."

The Bears are 5-8 and out of the playoff picture. Grossman, a
first-round pick in 2003, said he wants to be where he can compete
for the starting job.

He's had an erratic season, losing the job after three games,
regaining it after Brian Griese was hurt and then having another
season cut short by injury.

His second and third years were also sidetracked by a knee
ligament injury and a broken ankle. This time, he sprained his leftknee against the Redskins in the first quarter last Thursday.

Now, he's forced to watch from the sidelines again. Kyle Orton
has moved in to start Monday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings, with Brian Griese the backup.

Grossman wants the chance to start next season and that's what
he's hoping for, wherever that might be.

"I think you're always proving yourself, and I definitely would
like to be in a situation anywhere where I'm competing for the
starting job and show what I can do, and just kind of improve and
take the experience that I've had throughout the last couple years
and build upon that," Grossman said Tuesday.

"I know I can play good football, so if I'm in a position where
I can compete next July, I'll be happy."

Grossman completed 122 of 225 passes for 1,411 yards with four
TD passes and seven interceptions in eight games this season, seven
as a starter. In his career he's passed for 5,907 yards with 33
interceptions and 31 TD passes in 32 games, 30 as a starter.

He drew heavy criticism last season, his first full one as a
pro, for his uneven performances that included one game when his
quarterback rating was 0.0.

But he has a strong arm and a solid football background. And
there was no structural damage in his latest injury. He said
Tuesday he actually hoped he could make it back as an emergency
third quarterback for the season finale against the Saints, but
that is unlikely.

After returning to the starter's role following his benching
earlier this season, Grossman showed some improvement from the
first three games. But the Bears have not looked at all like a team
that made it to the Super Bowl -- not on either side of the ball.

"I think as a team we have definitely not played the way we're
capable of and especially myself early in the season, I did not
play the way I wanted to. But hopefully I learned from some of
those mistakes and got back in there and played a little bit
better," Grossman said.

Grossman was a star at Florida and the Heisman Trophy runner-up
in 2001. But after the injuries slowed him early on, he's struggled
to be a consistent performer.

"You just look at the potential of what I can become and
hopefully that's a consistent good quarterback that can make a big
play here and there and still play good football without being too
risky," Grossman said.

"Right now I don't have any answers as far as my future, I'm
just going along for the ride and we'll see what my options are at
the end of the year."

Notes
Their defensive line depleted by injuries, the Bears
signed defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy. Kennedy was a first-round
pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2003. He started 30 games for the
Rams, including all 16 a year ago. He spent the preseason with the
Broncos.