Rick Mirer's Long Journey

Rick Mirer's journey from heavily-hyped quarterback in Seattle and Chicago to fill-in for the Oakland Raiders has been long and full of disappointments. Laura takes a look at Mirer's NFL history as the Packers prepare to take on his Raiders...

You couldn't blame Rick Mirer if he quoted a line from an old Talking Heads' song recently.

Thrust into the role as starting quarterback for the defending AFC champion Oakland Raiders after years of inactivity, you could just hear Mirer, who always had the deer in the headlights look anyway, sing ‘My God! How did I get here?' as he trotted onto the field.

With Rich Gannon and Marques Tuiasosopo injured, Mirer will ride out this train wreck of a season as Oakland's starting quarterback. He is scheduled to start against the Packers Monday night in Oakland.

While expectations for Mirer aren't especially high in Oakland, that wasn't the case in Chicago six seasons ago. Mirer spent one disappointing campaign with the Chicago Bears after being inexplicably acquired from the Seattle Seahawks where his once-hyped career was already in steady decline.

You could almost forgive the Bears if they brought in Mirer the way they brought in Jim Miller as a free agent hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

That, however, was hardly the case.

The Bears and coach Dave Wannstedt surrendered the 11th overall pick in the 1997 draft for the expensive Mirer and a fourth round pick.

The Seahawks parlayed that pick into cornerback Shawn Springs and tackle Walter Jones, who are both still with the team. Mirer lasted just one turbulent, confusing and disappointing season in Chicago. The fourth round pick acquired with Mirer didn't pan out either. The Bears selected running back Darnell Autry out of Northwestern and, like Mirer, his stint in Chicago lasted one year.

What did the Bears ever see in Mirer?

In four seasons in Seattle, Mirer's passer rating peaked at 70.2 in 1994. He threw 41 touchdowns against 56 interceptions with a 53.5 completion percentage and the season he had prior to his acquisition by the Bears was pitiful (51.3 completion percentage, 1,546 yards, five TDs, 12 INT, 56.6 passer rating).

Things only got worse for Mirer, who was curiously assigned No. 13, and the Bears, who created for themselves a tension-filled campaign thanks to a quarterback controversy courtesy of the Mirer swap.

Mirer struggled in the preseason and couldn't beat out Erik Kramer, who, like the rest of the Bear Nation, probably wondered why this classic underachiever was being shoved down everybody's throats.

Kramer's sin was injury. Following his historic 1995 season, Kramer was limited to four games in 1996 because of a neck injury. Prior to the acquisition of Mirer, Kramer was poised to return as the starter in 1997.

Instead, Kramer had to beat out Mirer for the starting job, which he did thanks, in part, to Mirer's woeful preseason.

The Bears went winless in their first two games of 1997 before Mirer saw the field in mopup duty against Detroit. Anxious to see their acquisition work out, the Bears started Mirer the next three games before he was mercifully pulled in favor of Kramer.

In his three starts (all losses), Mirer did not lead the Bears to a touchdown, let alone throw a touchdown pass. The Bears mustered all of three field goals during Mirer's time on the field in September and October.

Mirer then rode the bench as the third quarterback before he saw some brief action in December.

Summing up his time in Chicago, Mirer saw extensive action in the Bears Sunday night game at St. Louis Dec. 14, 1997.

With only draft order on the line (i.e. a loss was more beneficial than a win), Mirer was 1 of 7 for 8 yards with one interception as the Bears fell into a 13-10 victory in a game which set professional football back 75 years.

The next week, four days before Christmas, a miracle occurred: Mirer led the Bears to a touchdown. In the fourth quarter of a blowout loss at Tampa Bay, Mirer found the end zone on a 1-yard run and then added the 2-point conversion in a 31-15 setback.

In seven games with the Bears, Mirer was 53 of 103 (51.5 percent) for 420 yards with no interceptions and six touchdowns.

His passer rating was 37.7.

Mirer was waived by the Bears the following August, ending one of the most perplexing chapters in the history of the franchise. He patrolled the sidelines in Green Bay, briefly saw action with the Jets and moved to San Francisco before joining the Raiders.

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