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Bears Activate Flutie; Payton May Not Play

November 05, 1986|United Press International

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears activated quarterback Doug Flutie Tuesday, and Coach Mike Ditka said Flutie might play Sunday against Tampa Bay.

Chicago starter Jim McMahon will be out at least one more week, and the Bears might also be without running back Walter Payton, who suffered a dislocated big toe in Monday night's 20-17 loss to the Rams. Payton has started 161 consecutive games.

"It's dislocated," Ditka said. "We don't know if it's fractured. We'll know more Wednesday."

Flutie, the 1984 Heisman Trophy winner at Boston College, was put on the 45-man roster, and wide receiver Clay Pickering was cut.

"I don't anticipate going out on the field this week," Flutie said. "If the situation came about, I'd be ready. I would prefer to come off the bench than start because of the added burden you seem to have when you are the starter."

Ditka would not say who his starting quarterback will be against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McMahon's sore shoulder prevents him from throwing, leaving Steve Fuller, Mike Tomczak and Flutie as the candidates.

"We'll put 11 men on the field, fellas," Ditka said. "Flutie could see some action next Sunday."

McMahon has missed the last two games. Fuller was replaced by Tomczak in the second half Monday as the Bears lost for the second time in three games. Both passers were ineffective.

However, Flutie has only had two weeks to learn the Bears' system.

"I don't know if he can call all the plays if he gets in," Ditka said of Flutie. I don't know if he's (Fuller) has lost his confidence. You'd have to ask him."

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