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Wishing Rex a fond farewell
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 2/26/2009 12:00 AM

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Rex Grossman officially becomes a free agent Sunday.

Let us all bow our heads and pause for a moment of, um, well, I don't know exactly.

Silence seems a little maudlin, so let's just avoid dancing on his grave or jumping for joy and simply wish the man well as the door hits him in the pads on the way out.

Grossman is hardly the first high draft pick to fail at the QB position in Chicago, and he won't be the last.

Yet, he leaves as one of the more polarizing Chicago sports figures of the last few decades, perhaps in part because of the GAS (Grossman Apologist Society), or maybe because of the repetitious and pernicious, if not altogether infamous, "Rex is our quarterback.''

Or maybe it's because he was just plain bad most of the time. Heck, even when he was good, he was on the edge of bad at any moment.

Maybe it was because he stumbled, bumbled and fumbled away a Super Bowl.

Sure, his supporters will say he got the Bears to Miami, but that's a generosity beyond mere worship or obtuse justification.

The Bears got there in large part because of Thomas Jones, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Tommie Harris.

Mostly, they got there because of Devin Hester.

Nevertheless, Grossman is departing, and let's hope he finds a soft landing in free agency.

One scout suggested he is no better than 11th among the available QBs, behind even Joey Harrington, reminding us Grossman has no instinct for the position, runs scared under pressure and doesn't grasp the concept of ball protection.

But Joey Harrington? Joey Flippin' Harrington?

That's how far Grossman has fallen, but that's going too far. In fact, it says here Grossman still can salvage his career and actually find success elsewhere.

He conceivably could be a solid No. 2 if he can find the perfect situation that includes a strong line, excellent weapons and a coordinator who understands - and accepts - his limitations.

His best bet is to avoid the bad teams, where he's got a better chance to play, and a better chance to play poorly.

If he instead settles for a situation where he's unlikely to play, but if he did play could play well, this could work out great for him.

Just for the sake of argument, imagine him not in Detroit or Cincinnati but instead in Tennessee or Indianapolis, having to play for a game or three.

Grossman could completely alter the direction of his career, learn the position and have some genuine success while gaining the fans and confidence he never found here.

Let's hope Grossman discovers that ideal situation.

You may think it impossible, but much stranger things have happened in the NFL.

Stocking stuffer

Illinois governor Pat Quinn is not one of these politicians turned White Sox fan. He's a lifelong, die-hard who became a politician, but he's hardly new to the party, so to speak.

How serious? In a recent conversation, while talking about the 2005 World Series, I mentioned the two great plays Juan Uribe made on groundballs late in Game 4 in Houston.

Quinn quickly corrected me, saying, "Three plays. Don't forget the play he made behind third base, going into the stands to get that foul ball. That was his best play.''

Like I said, die-hard.

Match game

The PGA Tour's one-man stimulus package returned with something less than a vengeance Wednesday, but he also didn't need a bailout.

Tiger Woods played fine but not great in winning his first match, and the good news for him is most of his mistakes were mental.

Physically, he looks terrific. He was able to stay forward on his left foot, which puts more pressure on the knee and is something he hasn't done for several years.

The big match will be Thursday, as he guards against the second-day bounce off a long layoff. If he makes it through Round 2, he's got a very good chance to win it.

Ivan Boldirev-ing

Duncan Keith was a landslide winner in our Blackhawks MVP voting, with Nikolai Khabibulin a distant second.

Next for your consideration: Which team would you like to see the Hawks play in the first round, and which team would you like to see them avoid if at all possible?

With the bottom half of the playoff bracket so unpredictable in the West, the Hawks might not know their opponent until the final day of the season.

With the potential for facing hot goalies, traps, physical play or lack thereof, what team would you like to see at the UC in the first round?

As always, we await your vote.

The quote

Tiger Woods on his return to competition: "I told (caddie) Steve (Williams) it felt like we hadn't been gone at all. Once we started it was business as usual. I thought I'd be more nervous, but it was just back to basics.''

The needle

Comedian Alex Kaseberg: "The economy is in such bad shape it could actually use a shot in the butt from Alex Rodriguez's cousin.''

Best headline "Mike Greenwell given every A.L. MVP Award since 1988.''

And finally -

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: "Alex Rodriguez says he wishes he had gone to college. Ah, yes, college! It's what many of us, athletes and others, remember as that blissful four-year escape from the temptation of illicit drugs.''