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Columnist
You've got to ask ... was this really a job worth winning?
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 8/19/2008 12:09 AM

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In the first legitimate competition at the position during his six years as a professional quarterback, Rex Grossman lost.

How about that?

This even while the coaching staff desperately wanted him to win, the GM nearly declared it, the Grossman Apologist Society (GAS) continued to stump for him, and the eventual winner had no one pulling for him this side of his mother.

But lest you believe the Grossman era is over in Chicago, keep in mind that GAS will be picking apart every throw Orton makes and assuring Lovie Smith he'd be better off with Grossman at the helm.

So we've not seen the last of Grossman, because he will be on the field at some point in 2008.

As for Orton, it figures that when they finally give him a shot at leading the team, he's got no team to lead.

Orton will be a decent NFL quarterback someday, but that day probably won't be this year, with this team, this offense and, specifically, this dreadful offensive line.

So completely lacking weapons and protection, Orton's most likely doomed to watching Grossman play the second half of the season as the team limps home to 7 or 8 victories.

But, at least while he plays, Orton will be able to remind potential employers of what he proved during his rookie season, when he went into his first NFL start with about 15 minutes prep time.

Orton can show people again that he's big, unafraid, can take a hit, is willing to step up in the pocket and make a throw, and won't toss it right to a defender because he's running for his life.

He's also able to adequately manage an offense, though without an adequate offense, he might not have anything to manage.

At least, he may give special teams and defense a chance to win a few games.

This is small consolation for Orton and for Bears fans, who are facing what has a chance to be a truly horrific offensive season.

Special teams and defense ought to do their jobs, but that's assuming the health of Devin Hester, Brian Urlacher, Tommie Harris and Mike Brown.

Subtract any of them, and the entire program begins to look like Division III.

But Orton can't worry about all that. He has won a job almost no one would want, and his celebration could last as long as it takes to drop back and pass.

The jailbreak may be only that far away.

The good cause

Former Bear Willie Gault will be in Barrington's Beese Park this week as part of his Athletes For Life Foundation's focus on heart health.

The AFL founder believes everyone 8 years and older should get checked.

"They should be tested to save their lives, to make sure the most important muscle in the body is healthy,'' Gault said. "The facts are that every three days, a young athlete dies of heart disease, and every 30 minutes, a person dies of heart disease.

"We have the answer with the Signalife Fidelity 100 device, and we are making a difference one heartbeat at a time.''

AFL will be testing at Beese Park on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

"Our plan at AFL is to test every man, woman and child in America,'' Gault said, "within the next three years.''

For more info, visit athletesforlife.com.

Baker's dozin'

Dusty Baker's always good for a laugh, but with his team among the worst in baseball and his managing under scrutiny, Baker failed again to take responsibility for anything.

In town for three starting today, Baker recently blamed it all on the man who hired him, GM Wayne Krivsky. He was fired in April and isn't even around to defend himself.

Said Baker to the Dayton Daily News, "This is Wayne Krivsky's team, not (GM) Walt Jocketty's and not mine.''

Gotta love this guy.

In good hands

Homer Glen e-mailer Chris Forte, on the Bears naming a starting QB: "It's important the Bears did it this week. That will give him time to increase his life-insurance coverage before the first game of the season.''

Truman showing

NBC's Bob Costas signing off at 11:31 p.m. Chicago time: "Considering the time here in Beijing, and in various parts of the U.S. right now, I can actually say: good morning, good afternoon and good night.''

The name game

Comedian Alex Kaseberg: "This has been a marvelous Olympics for Michael Phelps, but he could not have accomplished what he did without his relay teammates, so let's always remember that one guy, the other guy, and especially that guy who caught the French guy. You know, what's his name?''

And finally -

Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, on the Olympic controversy: "I didn't see what the big deal was until I noticed two of the Chinese gymnasts arriving for the competition in their coach's backpack.''

brozner@dailyherald.com