Daily Herald
Former Bears blast passing game, Grossman
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 8/11/2008 4:44 PM | Updated: 8/11/2008 10:20 PM

BOURBONNAIS - It was a day of disrespect for the Bears, and the unfriendly volleys came from former teammates.

Players and coaches didn't have much reaction to former teammate Muhsin Muhammad's quote on SI.com that Chicago "is where wide receivers go to die," or to a story on CBSSportsline.com that quoted Tank Johnson as saying quarterback Rex Grossman was "brittle" and implying that he was soft.

Maybe the Bears just considered the sources.

Or maybe they figured Muhammad was talking about his own career, which isn't far from life support after the Bears cut him following last season's underwhelming 40 receptions, 570 yards and 3 touchdowns. After his release by the Bears, Muhammad was re-signed by the Panthers, with whom he spent nine mostly productive seasons at the start of his career. In his final season with Carolina, in 2004, Muhammad caught 93 passes for 1,405 yards and 16 touchdowns, 4 more than his three-year total in Chicago.

Bears wide receiver coach Darryl Drake said he didn't take Muhammad's slight personally but did point out several exceptions to his allegation.

"Bobby Wade came here and developed, got better and if he hadn't developed and gotten better, the Titans wouldn't have wanted him," Drake said. "Minnesota wouldn't have wanted him."

After he was waived by the Bears late in 2005, Wade was picked up by the Panthers, and he caught 33 passes for 461 yards in 2006, then led the Vikings last season with 54 catches and 647 receiving yards. There are even better examples, as Drake pointed out.

"Justin Gage, the same way," Drake said. "If he hadn't have come here and gotten better, he wouldn't have gone there (to the Titans) and gotten $14 million. Bernard Berrian, if he hadn't developed, he wouldn't have got $42 million with Minnesota."

Gage signed as a free agent with Tennessee and led the Titans with 750 receiving yards last season and tied for the team lead with 55 catches. This past off-season he got a four-year, $14 million deal. Berrian led the Bears with 71 catches and 951 yards before striking it rich in Minnesota as an unrestricted free agent with a six-year deal.

When Grossman was asked about the stone throwing by Johnson, who lives in the ultimate glass house after weapons and drug convictions, he dismissed it.

"I don't pay attention to any of that," Grossman said. "I don't really have an opinion or a comment on that. They have their own reasons why they need to talk about things. I just do my job and keep quiet."

Kyle Orton, who is battling Grossman for the starting job, and like Grossman was thrown under the bus by Muhammad when he was here, had even less to say when he was asked what kind of teammate Muhammad was.

"No comment," Orton said.

"I thought those guys were my friends," said a miffed Bears Pro Bowl player.

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner said, "Anytime anybody says something about guys on this team, you take offense to it."

Drake still said he would give Muhammad a hug when the Bears visit the Panthers in Week 2 of the regular season and said he's entitled to his opinion.

"Guys will come here, and we do the best we can to help them," Drake said. "I think while Moose was here he got better. But one of the things that happened was the emergence of Bernard (Berrian). (Muhammad) had to share some things. His role probably changed from what he was accustomed to. That's just the way it is."