Brian Griese signed a lucrative five-year contract with the Bears before the 2006 season thinking that he would be given an opportunity to win the starting quarterback job. However, he quickly learned from head coach Lovie Smith that "Rex Grossman is our quarterback," despite his roller-coaster performance a year ago from training camp through Super Bowl XLI that included everything from NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors in September to a near benching in December. But Smith had seen enough after a 1-2 start and Grossman's unacceptable 45.2 passer rating, finally cashing in his expensive insurance policy and naming Griese the starter for Week 4's big game at Detroit.
QB Brian Griese
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"I got the word on Monday, and I've been excited ever since," Griese said Wednesday at Halas Hall. "I feel like I'm at a point in my career where I'm ready for the challenge [and] ready for the opportunity. I respect the fact that we have a great opportunity with this team and the talent on this team, and the next three weeks we have an opportunity to make a statement of what kind of team we're going to be and how we're going to bounce back from adversity. And I'm just glad to be a part of it."
Naturally, the hyper-competitive Grossman did not take the news very well and is yet to address the media concerning his demotion, but Griese has seen both sides of this coin and still thinks very highly of his newly-assigned backup.
"I had a good conversation with Rex," he said. "It's a tough situation, and I've been where Rex is and I had a candid conversation about that, too. I have a lot of respect for Rex and the way that he's handled it. I know it's not easy, and he has every right to be upset and angry. But he has no animosity, which I really respect him for."
Williams-Furrey not a Johnson-Chrebet situation
Detroit wide receiver Roy Williams is the all-word talent with first-round pedigree, but it was his teammate, undrafted overachiever and converted safety Mike Furrey, who led the NFC in receptions last season with 98. When Keyshawn Johnson – like Williams, a high draft pick with a penchant for self-flattery – and Wayne Chrebet – like Furrey, short on physical tools but long on effectiveness – played together for the New York Jets, they had a contentious relationship to say the least. Johnson went so far as to call his diminutive counterpart the "team mascot" in his trashy autobiography and said that he was responsible for most of Chrebet's success because of the attention he received from opposing defenses.
WR Roy Williams
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"We call ourselves the Super Friends," Williams said Wednesday via conference call at Halas Hall. "We're all good, man. There's no bad-talking each other. Shaun McDonald was leading our team in receptions and yards for the first two weeks, and I didn't say anything. We're winning. We're winning ballgames, and Mike Furrey, man, he's a proven guy. He has a lot of respect around the league. Teams have to account for him. He's a veteran guy, and he's a hard worker."
The Lions currently have the No. 1 passing offense in the NFL at a ridiculous 376 yards per game, and Williams is claiming once again that he and the rest of the Super Friends can not be stopped on Sundays.
"We're fast break, baby," he boasted.
For the Bears, LB Lance Briggs (groin), OG Ruben Brown (ankle), DT Tommie Harris (knee), OT Fred Miller (knee), CB Charles Tillman (ankle), and CB Nathan Vasher (groin) were all held out of practice Wednesday. DT Darwin Walker (knee), DE Adewale Ogunleye, (hip), S Adam Archuleta (hand), and RB Adrian Peterson (calf) were only able to participate on a limited basis.
As for the Lions, OT Jeff Backus, (rib) LB Anthony Cannon (quad), RB T.J. Duckett (ankle), DE Kalimba Edwards (ankle), WR Calvin Johnson (back), LB Alex Lewis (hamstring), and OG Damien Woody (rib) were all held out of practice Wednesday. Everybody else on the roster participated fully.
John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.