Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 8 Days with Rex Grossman

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears / Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
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The Chicago Bears officially begin their 2023 regular season a week from tomorrow, and to celebrate the rapid approach of the first week of the campaign, today's installment of Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff brings us to the life and career of the best player in franchise history to don the number eight, quarterback Rex Grossman.

Chicago Bears draft Rex Grossman following terrific career in SEC

A native of Bloomington, Indiana, Rex Grossman grew up playing football from the moment he was physically able to. Quickly, Grossman began playing the quarterback position, the same position he would play at Bloomington South as a high schooler.

Throughout his prep career, Grossman gathered a reputation as one of his class's top pro-style quarterback. On the field, his best season came as a senior, where he led his team to a state title after finishing the regular season with 3,080 passing yards and 34 touchdowns. Following the championship win, Grossman was named an All-American quarterback and was selected as the Midwest's Offensive Player of the Year.

After over 7,500 passing yards and 97 touchdowns as a high schooler, Grossman elected to accept a scholarship offer from the University of Florida. In his first season with the team, the Bloomington native served as a redshirt quarterback on the scout team, but by 2000, he was able to officially join the offense.

Leading up to his sophomore season, Grossman was able to compete with incumbent quarterback Jesse Palmer for the team's starting role. Palmer won, but Grossman was awarded playing time as a reserve throughout the team's first couple of games. After looking good in limited action, Grossman was elevated to the first string ahead of the team's fifth game against LSU.

Grossman played well, finishing the game with three touchdowns and 276 yards, and helped his team win the game. From then on, Grossman led the team and helped them finish with a 10-2 regular season record. The Gators made it to the Sugar Bowl, where they unfortunately lost, but by the end of the year, it became clear that the team was Grossman's moving forward.

Heading into the 2001 season, Florida was the number one ranked team in the AP preseason poll, so expectations were high for Grossman in his first season as the team's full-time starter. The Indiana native thrived in all the noise and finished the season with an impressive 34 passing touchdowns to just 12 interceptions. Helping his team post a 10-2 record on the year, which translated to an Orange Bowl appearance following the season, Grossman was selected a First-Team All-American and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting.

In 2002, Grossman had a similarly productive season, now serving as both the starting quarterback and a junior captain of the team. His production dropped slightly compared to his sophomore season, but he still had a terrific campaign to the tune of 3,400 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. Grossman wasn't the only Gator to struggle on the season, however, as the team turned in an 8-4 record at the end of the regular season, and would go on to lose the Outback Bowl following the season.

After the season, Grossman elected to forgo his senior season to enter the 2003 NFL Draft. Regarded as one of the top quarterbacks of his class, Grossman became just the fourth signal-caller selected when the Chicago Bears picked him with the 22nd overall pick. The quarterback was the first selection in what ended up being a loaded draft class for the team that included Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs in the second and third rounds, respectively.