Locker Room Empty on Monday

Lake Forest - Understandably there was a somber mood at Halas Hall, so when it came time to get locker room reaction about Rex Grossman needing season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured ACL there weren't many players to answer questions.

Steve Edwards didn't see Grossman's knee hit the turf, but he could hear the shouts of his teammates.

"We all knew immediately that something serious had happened," Edwards said. "Even though the hope was that Rex only had a slight sprain I think everybody on the offensive line felt that Grossman's season had ended."

As the clock ticked down to the end of the game in Minneapolis, Edwards watched Grossman being taken to the locker room on a cart.

"I went up to him as he was leaving," Edwards said. "The fact that he wasn't able to walk on his own was not a good sign. Rex didn't say much but you could see the pain in his face. I was extremely concerned."

The news after Grossman's MRI Monday morning was anything but encouraging. Slated for surgery in two weeks then facing a rehabilitation period of from 7-10 months, Grossman's time on the field in 2004 had come to an end.

"Jonathan Quinn will be able to step up. That's his job. It's just a devastating loss emotionally for the players," Edwards said. "So much of a team's success comes from the quarterback. Rex can be pretty quiet but he has always led by example. He's a tough competitor and everybody respects him."

What began as a promising year for the Bears has turned into a laundry list of unexpected injuries.

"It's a nightmare," Edwards said. "And it seems to be all of the team's leaders who are going down. You never know who will be on the field from one week to the next. Communication is such an important part of the game, particularly for the o-line. We've had to readjust repeatedly. That's pretty discouraging."

Edwards is familiar with Quinn's technique after playing with him on the second team since the preseason.

"I think I can give the other players some pointers on Jonathan," Edwards said. "Basically, he and Rex are completely different. Rex is pretty fast. He's mobile. Most of the time you are trying to get the defenders out of his way.

"Jonathan is a lot bigger. He doesn't move as quickly and he tends to hold the ball longer. Blocking will be a much more important part of the overall scheme when he is in."

Edwards, who currently is filling in for Mike Gandy, understands the pressures and the opportunities of being a backup.

"It's a strange situation," Edwards said. "Every player in the NFL wants to be a starter. But sometimes when that happens, it's because somebody else got hurt. You never wish that on anybody but at the same time, you want to use the opportunity to your advantage. I'm sure that's how Jonathan is feeling right now."

Next weeks' game against the Eagles should show Bears fans just how well Quinn will be able to jumpstart the offense.

"I think that he will rise to the occasion," Edwards said. "Jonathan is a professional. He and coach Shea know each other from being with the Chiefs. It's our job to give him the protection he'll need and the time to make his decisions. The tempo of the game may be different but I think we will still get good results. We've lost Grossman, but it's way too early to write off the season."


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