Hutchinson Finds Bears to be Perfect Fit

Lake Forest - For now, new quarterback Chad Hutchinson is No. 3 on the Bears' depth chart, but he started nine games as a 25-year-old rookie in 2002 with the Dallas Cowboys. He could soon move up to No. 2 behind new starter Jonathan Quinn and ahead of rookie Craig Krenzel.

Hutchinson got a late start in the NFL because he left Stanford after two football seasons to play four years of professional baseball as a pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization, playing briefly in the major leagues in 2001.

As a rookie in 2002, Hutchinson was thrown into the mire of a 5-11 Cowboys season despite not having played quarterback in a regular season game since 1997 -- at Stanford. He still had a passer rating of 66.3, higher than David Carr (62.6) and Joey Harrington (59.9), the first and third overall picks, respectively, in the draft that year. The hope is that this time, the 6-foot-5, 237-pounder who spent four years in the St. Louis Cardinals' baseball organization, will be able to progress at his own pace.

"It's a new chance on life," Hutchinson said. "I think I'm really going to enjoy myself. Last time I put so much pressure on myself to be the next Troy Aikman. It wasn't really feasible coming in (after) four years of baseball, with not enough experience and starting my first year in the NFL with so much pressure to do well."

After an up-and-down rookie season in Dallas, Hutchinson lost out to Quincy Carter, as the starter and played in just one game last season. He was released just before training camp started this year.

But Bears G.M. Jerry Angelo believes he has an intriguing prospect in Hutchinson, who is still just 27.

"This is a good starting point to resuscitate himself," Angelo said. "When we scout players, we make sure we're looking at players that fit our scheme."

The Bears think Hutchinson will fit. Bears quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson was Hutchinson's position coach during his rookie season, when he threw seven TD passes and eight interceptions and had a passer rating of 66.3, and Angelo considered signing him before the 6-foot-5, 237-pound Hutchinson decided on the Cowboys.

"He's young, big, strong, and he's got a great work ethic," Angelo said. "Fifty percent of great quarterbacks are based on intangibles. He's got that, and he's still developing."

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