LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -After officially signing a contract extension Tuesday, Chicago Bears quarterback Kyle Orton said he will get a fair shot to beat Rex Grossman for the starting job.
``Rex and I have been around each other for quite a while now, and I think we've got a good relationship and we're comfortable around each other,'' Orton said. ``I expect it to be a stiff competition.
``I think that's how both of us want it. I know that's how I want it and I'm just looking forward to it.''
The Bears signed Grossman to a one-year, $3 million deal with $1.5 million possible in incentives. Then Chicago added an extra year to Orton's contract with the possibility through incentives of earning more than $5 million the next two seasons. He received $1.6 million in bonuses.
Orton started 15 games his rookie season in 2005 and helped the Bears make the playoffs, but then sat as a third-stringer all through the 2006 season during the team's run to the Super Bowl. He started three games last season.
``I'm sure you (reporters) all know it has been difficult for me and sometimes I handle it better maybe than other times. But that stuff is in the past and I think I've got a great opportunity here for the future and would love to make the best out of it and have a nice, long career here in Chicago,'' Orton said.
The Purdue graduate completed 43 of 80 passes (53.8 percent) for 478 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 73.9 in three games at season's end. For his career, Orton is 190-of-368 for 1,869 yards with nine touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a passer rating of 62.2. The Bears have won 12 of his 18 career starts.
Orton believes he's better for the three games he started at season's end.
``Just my attitude, it made the offseason a lot easier and just left a little bit better taste in my mouth, and I'm obviously ready to get back to work and excited to get back and compete,'' Orton said.
Offensive coordinator Ron Turner said an open competition between the quarterbacks shouldn't hold the team back in preparation for the regular season.
``They've both been around and they know the system, so we'll be able to get them both in and get plenty of reps,'' he said.
Several published reports have indicated the Bears' third quarterback, Brian Griese, will be released before a $300,000 signing bonus comes due next week.
``Well, we've developed a good friendship and hopefully he is back,'' said Orton, who called Griese a mentor during the regular season. ``I don't know what the next few weeks is going to hold, but hopefully he is back and we can have three good quarterbacks in here to compete and have a nice unit.
``It certainly is a business.''

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