Veteran Presence

The Bears agreed to terms Friday on a three-year contract with quarterback Chris Chandler. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but in all likelihood it was an incentive laden contract for the 14-year veteran.

Chandler comes to the Bears as a backup behind Jim Miller, who has missed time due to injury the past two seasons. Although, Chandler has had injury problems of his own GM Jerry Angelo said the Bears quick passing scheme should help the 36-year old QB stay healthy.

"Our offensive line does an yeoman's job upfront and you saw that the last two years, so I feel we'll see the best of what he has," Angelo said.

However, Chandler will not compete for the starting job.

"We feel he's a real good fit here," said Angelo. "He's very understanding of the situation here Jim Miller is our starter and we made that very clear to Chris and obviously to Jim."

Chandler spent the past five seasons in Atlanta (1997-2001) and during that time threw 87 touchdown passes against 56 interceptions. Last season, the two-time Pro Bowler threw for 2,847 yards, completing 223 of 365 attempts with 16 TDs and 14 INTs.

The 6-4, 228 pounder out of Washington had one of his most productive seasons in 1998, leading the Falcons to Super Bowl XXXIII against the Denver Broncos. He started 14 games for Atlanta in 1998, completing 190 of 327 for career-highs in yardage (3,154), touchdown passes (25) and passer rating (97.2).

Head coach Dick Jauron said he knows Chandler is a capable veteran.

"A guy that's been a starter for a long time in the league performed very well," Jauron said. "Smart guy, I think that's critical in your backup quarterback. He's not going to get a lot of reps in terms of preparation time for a Sunday game and this is a guy that has seen it all."

Chandler, a third-round selection in the 1988 draft by Indianapolis, played for two seasons for the Colts (1988-89), was traded to Tampa Bay in 1990 and waived by the Buccaneers in 1991. He was claimed off waivers by Phoenix and, after splitting time between Tampa Bay and Phoenix in 1991, led the Cardinals offense in 1992 with 13 starts before serving as a backup for Steve Beuerlein in 1993. Chandler signed with the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent in 1994, appearing in 12 games with six starts, then signed with Houston as a free agent where he started 25 games in two seasons (1995-96) for the Oilers before joining the Falcons.


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