The UFL, a new league determined to "fulfill the unmet needs of football fans in major markets currently underserved by professional football," according to its Web site mission statement, plans to have an upcoming "Pro Day" in Las Vegas.
Among the players reportedly set to showcase his skills for league talent evaluators is Rex Grossman, a former first-round pick of the Bears and their starting quarterback in Super Bowl XLI just three short Februarys ago. After a six-year stint with the franchise that turned him into arguably the most heavily scrutinized player in Windy City sports history, Grossman has been on the free-agent scrap heap the entire offseason even after firing long-time agent Eugene Parker in favor of the notorious Drew Rosenhaus. While he did visit with Cincinnati for an audition to be the primary backup to Pro Bowler Carson Palmer, the Bengals took a pass and chose to sign J.T. O'Sullivan instead – O'Sullivan was once fourth on the Bears depth chart behind Grossman, Brian Griese, and Kyle Orton during training camp in 2007.
While the UFL has hired former NFL head coaches Ted Cottrell (New York), Dennis Green (San Francisco), Jim Fassel (Las Vegas), and Jim Haslett (Orlando) to run its four teams, Grossman will be competing with the likes of Graham Harrell, who was a Heisman Trophy candidate this past season at Texas Tech but wasn't chosen in last month's draft, at the Pro Day.
It really wasn't too long ago that Grossman was a starting quarterback in Super Bowl XLI.
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Images
Selected 22nd overall in the 2003 NFL Draft out of Florida, Grossman was billed as the next Brett Favre with his enviable combination of big-time arm and big-game moxie. A rash of injuries his first few years as a pro stunted his development, but he was named the league's Offensive Player of the Month in September of '06 as the Monsters of the Midway went on an incredible run that eventually saw them win the NFC and move on to Super Bowl XLI in Miami – they came out on the losing end to Peyton Manning and the Colts. Grossman was benched in favor of Griese three games into 2007 after an icy start, and then he lost the No. 1 job for good to Orton during a highly-publicized battle in the '08 preseason.
Even though Grossman's time as a starter at the game's elite level certainly appears to be long gone, the fact that he can't get one of the approximately 100 available QB jobs in the NFL has to be somewhat surprising to even his harshest critics.
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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.