LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -If he has any bombs to unleash, Brian Griese will let them fly when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
He wasn't about to launch any during the week.
``I'm just really excited about the opportunity to come back there and play against a bunch of guys that I have a lot of respect for, that I enjoyed playing with and that I'll enjoy playing against,'' Griese said.
The veteran quarterback insisted he can't wait to see his former teammates and he has no lingering animosity, no pent-up frustrations with Bears coaches. Whether he exchanges pleasantries with Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Ron Turner remains to be seen.
last week's 24-9 win over Atlanta.
Now, he has a chance to beat the Bears, a potentially embarrassing scenario.
``I don't look at it that way,'' said Griese, who threw for 160 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. ``I know the type of character that's in that locker room. I know those guys are going to come out and play hard. I know our guys are going to play hard. I'm just really excited about the opportunity to come back there and play against a bunch of guys that I have a lot of respect for, that I enjoyed playing with and that I'll enjoy playing against.''
Maybe not.
Playing against the Bears wasn't exactly enjoyable for Peyton Manning or Jake Delhomme.
They held Manning to 257 yards and sacked him twice while shutting down the running game in a 29-13 win at Indianapolis, and controlled Carolina for 2 1/2 quarters before losing 20-17. The Panthers were trailing by 14 when Delhomme wobbled to the sideline after being drilled shoulder-to-helmet by Lance Briggs. Then, the momentum turned.
``Those first two road games, I think we're disappointed in the fact that we weren't completely able to turn the tables on everybody and prove everybody wrong,'' defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said. ``But it's good because it keeps that chip on our shoulder.''
five-year contract and went 3-3 as a starter last season after the inconsistent Grossman got benched early. His best moment last season also led to his strangest one.
Griese orchestrated a 97-yard touchdown drive with no timeouts in the final two minutes, lifting Chicago to a 19-16 win at Philadelphia. Afterward, he revealed the audio in his helmet wasn't working, so he had to call all but the final play.
It was a gutsy comeback, one of the few highlights during a 7-9 season, but the following day Griese was at the podium clearing up a ``miscommunication'' even though players were usually not available after a win.
Why?
To clarify that some of the plays were, in fact, signaled from the sideline. It seemed like a strange reason to call a news conference and any doubts about his future in Chicago soon were erased.
Grossman, who returned after Griese sprained his left shoulder, saw his season end when he sprained his left knee in December, and Orton started the final three games.
``I don't have any ill will or hard feelings about how anything went down,'' Griese said.
That he wound up back with the Buccaneers wasn't shocking. They never wanted to lose him in the first place.
up role.
Instead, Garcia and the Buccaneers clashed over contract issues, and the team flirted with Brett Favre in July. A strained right calf caused Garcia to miss most of training camp and the preseason, giving Griese most of the snaps with the first team, and Gruden made the switch after a season-opening 24-20 loss at New Orleans.
``We like Brian,'' Gruden said. ``We knew he was going to come in here and be a competitor and certainly a guy we can count on to play. Jeff got hurt. He missed the entire training camp. Brian took all the reps and did a great job in the preseason games. When he's had a chance to play, he's been very good for us.''
The defense Griese will face Sunday isn't quite the same as the one he saw up close the past two years. Oh, the Bears are still playing the Cover-2, but they're mixing up their looks, blitzing more.
A bigger concern than Griese is stopping the run, with Earnest Graham averaging 8.3 yards per carry and Warrick Dunn 4.9.
``They're physical, hard runners,'' Briggs said. ``They really excel in a two-back situation.''

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