Injuries derail Rex Grossman's time with Chicago Bears
Despite being a first-round pick, the Chicago Bears did not plan on using Grossman immediately, but after being eliminated from postseason contention deep into the season, the quarterback started three contests, where he played fairly well in limited action. Leading the team to a 2-1 record over his starts, Grossman logged 437 total yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
After the year, coach Dick Jauron was fired and replaced by Lovie Smith, and the new regime named Grossman their starting quarterback for the 2004 season. Grossman struggled throughout the first couple weeks of the season, logging just one touchdown and three interceptions through the first three weeks, before suffering an ACL tear near the end of their week three battle versus the Minnesota Vikings. Grossman missed the remainder of the season.
Grossman's return to full health was an anticipated topic heading into the 2005 season, as the team had quietly built one of the best defenses in the league around Brian Urlacher, Mike Brown, and Tommie Harris. Grossman's job was to keep the offense afloat throughout the season, but a broken ankle in the preseason forced him to miss the majority of the season, leaving the offense in the hands of backup Kyle Orton.
In 2006, Grossman was finally able to enter the regular season as the team's full-time starter, as the oft-injured quarterback played all 16 games throughout the year. Grossman was able to help the team reach a 13-3 record on the season, although much of the success was perhaps due to the clutch performances from both the defense and a Devin Hester-led special teams unit. Grossman finished his first full season with a solid passing total of 3,193 yards but struggled with turnovers, and posted 23 touchdowns to 20 total interceptions.
Nonetheless, the team entered the ensuing playoff as the NFC's number one seed, giving them a bye week before their divisional-round matchup versus the Seattle Seahawks. The Bears won a close game, but turned around and rolled the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship game. The Chicago Bears had earned a Super Bowl ticket, where they would be facing off against the Indianapolis Colts.
Despite having serious talent on the offensive side of the ball, the Colts were relatively mitigated by a talented Bears defense, and Hester himself added a touchdown on special teams to start the game. However, Grossman struggled throughout the game, throwing two interceptions, one of which was returned for a 56-yard touchdown. He also had issues with the snap and could not seem to get on the same page as Olin Kreutz. All of these mistakes hindered the offense's production, and Grossman was only able to lead the team to two scoring drives. The Bears would end up losing the game 29-17, and questions surrounding Grossman's abilities amongst the national media only intensified.
After a disappointing end to the previous season, Grossman entered the 2007 season determined to be more efficient with the football, but his goals were ultimately not met, and in the first seven games, Grossman led the team to a 2-5 record after throwing for four touchdowns and seven interceptions. Halfway through the season, Grossman was benched in favor of veteran quarterbacks Orton and Brian Greise.
After playing out his fifth-year option, Grossman entered free agency before the 2008 season, but the Chicago Bears front office decided to bring the quarterback back on a one-year deal, where he would be able to compete for the starting spot. However, the Florida great produced just one start during the season, where he finished with two touchdowns and two interceptions.