Rextra Special: Part 3

Rex Grossman knows Chicago's hungry for a winner. It's been 19 years since that memorable 1985 season when the Bears won the Super Bowl. The franchise has been to the playoffs only seven times since, including only once during the last nine years.

"In college, I dreamed about playing for a national championship," Grossman said. "I went to a program where fans were hungry about football. I played for a program that was good every year and had 85,000, 95,000 people at games.

"Nothing's changed. I still want to play in front of all those fans and bring a winner to Chicago."

Grossman says he doesn't feel any pressure. His dad says he doesn't feel any pressure. But he has a lot to carry around this season. The Bears have brought in a lot of people to put around him -- like running back Thomas Jones and tackle John Tait, among others -- but he lost top receiver Marty Booker, and has a slew of inexperienced and untested receivers to throw to.

"I'll be honest with you. His last year at Florida, we felt he had that whole team on his shoulders," Danny Grossman said. "That was a real emotional time for his family. We really felt pressure going to those games, because if he flubbed up at all, it just felt like the team wasn't going to win.

"He had the new coach (in Ron Zook) and all the preseason hype about the Heisman. I think we really felt the pressure then, but last year it was more exciting to see him play. Maybe it's because now he's at the highest level he can play, and the coaches know he can play. So it's like -- just go play. I think we're a little more relaxed and I think he is, too."

Grossman, the team's third-string quarterback most of last season, admits he didn't prepared himself last year like he should have. He didn't watch his diet or work out like he should have. Now that he's done holding the clipboard, he came into this season with a new attitude. He lost close to 20 pounds, still runs every day after practice and spends plenty of time in the film room.

"You look at old NFL films of (John) Elway and (Dan) Marino. They are yelling at players, getting them motivated," Grossman said. "It looks like they are in total control of what is going on. I definitely want to get to that point. I want to be in total control.

"They look extremely confident, and know exactly what's going on. They are a field general and that's definitely a goal for me."

There's no doubt Grossman has the confidence of his family, Angelo, the players and the Bears coaching staff.

"I see a tremendous future with him because he's got that lively arm and that quick release," said Shea, the team's first-year offensive coordinator. "That's what traveled with (Dan) Marino all over the NFL. Not that he's a Dan Marino, he's his own guy, but he's got those qualities. He's got great demeanor, he's consistent and he's diligent.

"He retains information and does a nice job. Even when he's a little late -- this offense is all about throwing early and having a quarterback trusting receivers to be where they're supposed to be -- he'll hold the ball, but his arm quickness gets it there. That's what makes him special."


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