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Behind the 8 ball

September 30, 2007|David Wharton

The numbers tell the story.

Cade McNown was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round. So was Rex Grossman.

McNown wore the number 8 on his jersey. So does Grossman.

The similarities between the Bear quarterbacks past and present don't end there, though it is doubtful that either player would be pleased by the comparison.

McNown was an All-American at UCLA who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior. He arrived in Chicago in 1999 and struggled through the better part of two seasons. After that, he was traded to Miami and then San Francisco but -- with a lingering shoulder injury -- never played again.

Grossman was an All-American at Florida who finished second in the Heisman voting as a senior. When the Bears took him in the 2003 draft, Chicago newspapers pointed out that he seemed different from McNown. In fact, he has already survived longer in the league and, upon becoming a starter last season, played in Super Bowl XLI -- having two of his passes intercepted as the Bears lost to Indianapolis.

A glance at the record book shows that, to date, Grossman and McNown have played roughly the same number of games and produced eerily comparable numbers. Even where Grossman has significantly more touchdowns and interceptions, the ratio is about the same (*yards per attempt):

The resemblance probably will endure for the time being. After three sluggish games and a 1-2 start for the Bears, Grossman was benched this week in favor of Brian Griese.

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