Sweet home, Chicago

While the Bears continue to send out a search party for a quarterback, Philadelphia has Donovan McNabb.

The Dolton native and former Mt. Carmel star has to quietly wonder what's going on with the team he grew up rooting for. The kid who was raised in the shadows of Soldier Field only comes back as an enemy.

The Bears drafted Cade McNown 12th in 1999, the same year McNabb was taken second by the Eagles.

McNabb returns home Sunday with the unbeaten Eagles, who are heavy favorites to capture the NFC crown this season.

"It's always special when you have an opportunity to come home," McNabb said Wednesday. "It's obviously a little bit more into it when you get a chance to a play at Soldier Field.

"Soldier Field, to me, was one of the best stadiums in the NFL and (the Bears were) a team that I wanted to play for growing up. Obviously it didn't work out that way, but anytime I have an opportunity to come home and family and friends get a chance to watch and enjoy, it's a special feeling for me."

McNabb's last trip home was one Bears fans would like to forget. It was the 2002 playoffs, when McNabb completed 26 of 40 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown as the Eagles romped to a 33-19 win.

Now the Eagles (3-0) travel to Soldier Field to take on a banged-up Bears team that is 1-2 and has lost starting quarterback Rex Grossman for the season with a knee injury. Star linebacker Brian Urlacher is likely out with a hamstring injury and the Bears defense will be without six starters.

It doesn't look good with a red-hot McNabb coming to town. For the first time in his NFL career he's the league's highest-rated passer (129.4). He has a 70.3 completion percentage with a league-high eight touchdowns and no interceptions. McNabb has won 13 of his last 14 starts and will go against a Bears defense that is ranked 26th overall and 25th against the pass.

"This is the third week in the row I'm saying one of the best QBs in the league, but he definitely is," Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said of McNabb. "He's a mixture of (Daunte) Culpepper and Brett (Favre) in the fact he can throw the ball and run. He stays alive to get his receivers the ball."

The four-time Pro Bowler has led the Eagles to three consecutive NFC championship games, and the way McNabb and company are currently playing, most think this could be the year they reach the Super Bowl. Landing big-play receiver Terrell Owens and pass-rushing specialist Jevon Kearse in the off-season has added to those expectations.

"You make it to the NFC championship, that's a great thing," McNabb said. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to win any of those, but we have an opportunity this year, and hopefully things will change."

Philadelphia (3-0) at Bears (1-2)
When: Noon Sunday
TV/Radio: Fox (Ch. 32)/WBBM-AM (780)

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