Bears lose Ruben Brown for season

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Coping with another inept offensive showing, the Chicago Bears were ready to change quarterbacks again Friday, while trying to patch up an injury-depleted line. Veteran guard Ruben Brown, who sat out Thursday's 21-7 loss to Dallas, will undergo neck surgery and miss the remainder of the season. Tackle John Tait was listed as day to day after spraining a ligament in his right knee during Thursday's game. And although coach Lovie Smith wouldn't divulge the plan, it was apparent the Bears are on the verge of giving No. 3 quarterback Chad Hutchinson a start. Craig Krenzel struggled before spraining his ankle and backup Jonathan Quinn played miserably again Thursday. Smith said he planned to have his quarterback in position by Monday. The Bears don't play until Dec. 5 against the Vikings. "You have to say that Chad is an option of ours. We have three quarterbacks; two have played, so there's an option," Smith said. "On our offensive line we have guys that haven't played. So we have options." Brown, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection who started 136 games for the Buffalo Bills from 1995 to 2003, signed with the Bears as a free agent. He was hurt in the previous game against the Colts. Smith said Friday the injury was similar to one suffered by defensive back/kick returner Jerry Azumah, who had surgery for a herniated disc in his neck in August and missed two months. "It's a big blow. Every guy that you lose right now really hurts you," Smith said. "We're thin as it is." Rookie defensive lineman Tommy Harris also sprained his right ankle and Krenzel was on crutches Friday after having an MRI on his. Krenzel fumbled Thursday and has 13 turnovers in six games. Quinn threw two interceptions Thursday, showing the form that led to his benching earlier in favor of Krenzel, who began the season as No. 3. The Bears managed just 140 yards Thursday and Krenzel and Quinn were a combined 15-of-31 for 132 yards and were sacked six times. Hutchinson, who started nine games for the Cowboys as a rookie two years ago, was signed in September after starter Rex Grossman went down with a season-ending knee injury in the third game. Smith said he was aware of the consequences of losing a starting quarterback even before the season began. Now he's had to deal with it for most of the season. "You just look at any team in the league right now," Smith said. "Very few have two that they feel like really have, possibly have, starting type ability. If your starter goes down, you're in a little bit of trouble. ... If you get down to your third quarterback, you're in trouble and you have to make the best of that situation and you just have to regroup and go from there. That's what we've done as a team." Hutchinson, formerly a pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals, has had two months to digest the offense and said last week he was ready to play if called upon. Now he could have nine days to get ready for the Vikings. "In case we did go with Chad, nine days would, sure nine would (be enough)," Smith said. "I would say his physical skills are good. You know he's a pitcher in baseball, a fastball thrower and all that good stuff. He can throw the ball. He's got good size, so I think physically he definitely has enough ability to do it, but you know there's some other things that come into play, too."

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