Grossman Returns to the Field

Lake Forest - Rex Grossman has been working diligently over the past seven months in preparation for what happened on Friday. He took the first snap during the Bears mini-camp.

"It took a lot of time, a lot of hard work, but more than that just a lot of time every day doing rehab," Grossman said following the morning practice. "It was fun along the way to see progress and then just build from that progress and work on that. But it's been seven months and it seems like seven years."

Grossman wasn't the only member of the team in a reflective mood.

"He's our leader. It all starts with the quarterback," Lovie Smith said of what it means to have Grossman back behind center. "No one has worked harder than Rex this off-season, so it's good to see him finish it. Get out on the field. We moved our mini-camp back to make sure we could get as many of our players back as we could so it's definitely good to have our leader in front of the group leading them."

Without coming to Halas Hall on a daily basis Grossman may not be as far a long as he appears to be. He practiced without the use of a brace on his surgically repaired right knee and there is no discussion of him wearing one down the line.

"We'll always protect our quarterbacks. But there is no reason to do anything. Rex is ready to go as far as we're concerned," Smith said. "We don't put players out there if they need special treatment. He doesn't need any."

Grossman took part in all drills and didn't show any signs of rust expected from a quarterback that hasn't been able to practice since last September.

When Grossman went down in the third week of season the Bear offense followed. The unit finished last in the NFL in multiple categories, including points, first downs and passing yardage.

The off-season has been dedicated to repairing the offense. There's a new assortment of toys at Grossman's disposal, which should take pressure off him to win games and allow the responsibility to be spread around.

The addition of Muhsin Muhammad gives any Bear quarterback a security blanket that wasn't evident last year.

"I think Muhsin Muhammad is an unbelievable pro," Grossman said. "He knows how to get open, he knows how to separate and obviously he can catch the ball."

Grossman will be working with his third offensive coordinator in as many years in the league.

Despite making just 6 starts over two seasons, Grossman's presence was a sight for sore eyes considering how the quarterback situation deteriorated after he went down.

"Anybody who loses their starting quarterback, it brings a team down," said C Olin Kreutz. "That's not a knock on the other guys who played, it's just that Rex is a starter for a reason. He's the best quarterback we've got and to get him back is exciting for us."

The six-foot-1, 218-pounder appears ready to put all injury talk behind him, but that will have to wait until he takes a hit from an opposing defender.

"I think the next step from today is to where I can get hit when I'm live and how am I going to react a 300-pounder coming at my knees," Grossman said. "I think once I get over that hurdle it'll be totally finished, but I don't have to do that until the first preseason game."

Grossman will that challenge on August 8th when the Bears face Miami in the Hall of Fame Game.

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