Opportunity Knocks

INDIANAPOLIS -- Illinois quarterback Kurt Kittner displayed a knack for something last season that partly explains why NFL scouts consider him one of the top passers in spite of merely average arm strength displayed at this year's NFL scouting combine.

Against Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin, the Schaumburg overcame struggles early in the games to lead fourth-quarter comebacks for victories in Illinois' 10-2, Rose Bowl season.

``The way I view it is we did whatever it took as a team we come back and win the game,'' he said. ``That's what really counts - wins and losses.

``Quarterbacks and head coaches are really the ones that get judged on that. In that aspect - the wins and loss category - I think I was very successful this year,'' he said.

Kittner, who completed 207-of-374 for 2,994 yards, 23 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, was one of the quarterbacks the Bears interviewed at the combine. He met with offensive coordinator John Shoop.

He thinks he can talk offense and play in one better than most of the other quarterback prospects in this year's draft because of the offensive system he played in under Illini head coach Ron Turner, the former Bears offensive coordinator.

``Coach Turner has been around the league and a lot of the people he met this week (in Indianapolis at the combine) have coached with him in different places,'' said Kittner, a former star at Schaumburg High. ``I know a lot of teams in the NFL use that same exact offense (Turner uses). It will help the learning curve. I'll be able to pick up things and retain things a lot quicker than some of the other (rookie quarterbacks) guys.

``I'm a smart quarterback and I get the job done and know my role. It's within the offense.''

Bear Report Top Stories