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NFL: Bears confident in 'backup plan' at QB

Campbell, McCown provide depth if Cutler is out

Published: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 12:29 a.m. CDT
Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell prepares to hand off the ball Sunday against the Texans in Chicago. If Jay Cutler's concussion keeps him out, Campbell will start. the team signed former backup Josh McCown as an insurance policy.

LAKE FOREST – As darkness set in Sunday night, Josh McCown grabbed a seat on his couch in North Carolina to watch his old Bears teammates on TV.

He saw – yawn – Jay Cutler and – stretch – Matt Forte and – zzzz.

“Those night games are hard to stay awake for, especially on the East Coast,” McCown said with a smile. “I started kind of nodding off, and then my phone rang.”

Talk about a wake-up call.

Now, the 33-year-old father of four could be one injury away from playing for the Bears on Monday in San Francisco. After Cutler suffered a concussion Sunday on a helmet-to-helmet hit, the Bears re-signed McCown for depth at quarterback behind No. 2 option Jason Campbell.

Bears coach Lovie Smith has not ruled out Cutler for Monday’s game, but also offered no indication that Cutler will play. The Bears did not practice Wednesday and did not have to provide an updated injury report, but that will change when the team practices today.

Campbell, 30, has passed for 74 touchdowns and 50 interceptions in eight NFL seasons. He started 70 games during previous stints with the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders. His teams have gone 31-39 in those starts.

“We like our backup plan at the quarterback position,” Smith said. “We like Jason Campbell. We’ve been saying that all along.We brought him here for a situation like this, if Jay can’t go.”

McCown has started 33 games in parts of nine NFL seasons, including a pair of starts for the Bears last season after Cutler was injured and Caleb Hanie was benched.

In the 2011 regular season finale, McCown led the Bears to a 17-13 win against the Minnesota Vikings to salvage a .500 record. He spent training camp with the Bears this summer but was released Aug. 31.

“I know this is a unique team,” McCown said. “And as good as our defense is playing, as a quarterback, if you’re just smart with the football and protect it as an offense, you can give yourself a chance to win ball games.”

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