CHICAGO (AP) -Rex Grossman signed a one-year contract Saturday with the Chicago Bears and will compete for the starting quarterback job.
Grossman, a 2003 first-round draft pick, started the Super Bowl for the Bears after an up-and-down season in 2006. He struggled again last year and was benched following the third game. He returned for five more games before injuring his left knee.
Grossman passed for 913 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for an 80.2 passer rating when he returned. In the first three games, his 45.2 rating with one TD and six interceptions contributed to the Bears' 1-2 start.
``Rex has won a lot of football games for us around here,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ``You look at how he played at the end of the football season until he came up with that injury, he is playing good football.''
Grossman has started 30 games with 489 completions in 900 attempts (54.3 percent) for 5,907 yards with 31 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. His career passer rating is 70.9.
``We wanted him because we feel like he gives us the best opportunity to be the best team we can be going into this next season,'' general manager Jerry Angelo said.
Angelo confirmed Grossman will battle Kyle Orton for the starting quarterback spot and that there could be two other quarterbacks on the roster next season. Angelo did not include veteran backup Brian Griese in those plans, and it's possible Griese will be cut in early March before he is due a $300,000 roster bonus.
``It's an open competition,'' Smith said. ``It's not like we promised Rex a starting position, or any of the guys a starting position. They're coming to Chicago because they feel good about competing for the starting job.''
Angelo said stabilizing the quarterback position is the team's biggest priority, but Grossman's contract doesn't help much because he would be a free agent after the 2008 season without a contract extension.
``With one-year deals you're not solving anything,'' Angelo said. ``You're still in the hunt, so to speak. We certainly feel good about the people who are contending at the position, but it's not solved yet.''
The Bears hope signing Grossman provides leverage to bring wide receiver Bernard Berrian back to the team. He becomes a free agent Friday.
``We're using everything we possibly can,'' Smith said. ``Bernard has been a big part of what we've done. He's come up through the ranks with us.
``We'd like to see him finish it at our place. Hopefully, signing guys like Rex will help.''
Agent Drew Rosenhaus said Saturday he expects Berrian and fellow client Lance Briggs to enter free agency rather than sign a contract with the Bears.
``I would say at this time I would project that those guys would at least get to free agency, or at least the beginning of it'' Rosenhaus said at the NFL scouting combine. ``But the Bears are going to be in the mix as we continue to talk with other teams.
``We're going to have a good, healthy dialogue with them.''

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