Agent floats scenario of Warner as a Bear
By Fred Mitchell
Tribune staff reporter
October 18, 2004

Kurt Warner has guided teams to two Super Bowls, has been named the NFL's most valuable player twice and is the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history.

And he wanted to sign with the Bears last spring. But not as a backup.

The Bears talked with Warner and Chicago-based agent Mark Bartelstein during the off-season, but Bears officials said they did not want to create a quarterback controversy with young first-round draft pick Rex Grossman. So Warner signed with the New York Giants, where he is enjoying a renaissance season. Meanwhile, the Bears have struggled after Grossman suffered a season-ending knee injury.

At the end of this season, the Bears could have another shot at signing Warner, Bartelstein said.

"Kurt will be a free agent this spring," Bartelstein said. "It was a two-year deal [with the Giants], but in essence it is a one-year deal. The second year of the contract was simply put in for [salary-] cap purposes. It automatically voids."

The Bears were widely criticized for not having a proven backup quarterback heading into this season. Jonathan Quinn has been inadequate, passing for only 65 yards Sunday against Washington.

"We were very interested [in the Bears], if it was going to be a situation where it's even competition and the best man wins," Bartelstein said. "Kurt would have been real interested. Kurt wanted to go somewhere that he would have a chance to compete for the starting spot."