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Rex Grossman - Early life, College career, Professional career

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Born in Bloomington, Indiana to Maureen and Daniel Grossman, Rex began playing football at a very young age. His father Daniel encouraged his pursuits, and though Rex began as a running back, his mother convinced him to change to quarterback. Rex graduated from Bloomington South High School where he was extremely gifted on the football field, eventually setting a state record for highest number of touchdowns in a championship game. USA Today recognized Grossman as being the 1998 Indiana Player-of-the-Year and was said to be one of the top fifteen players in the United States according to the National Recruiting Advisor.

College career

Grossman enrolled at the University of Florida, foregoing following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who bothed played football for Indiana University. At the end of a lackluster freshman year, Grossman became a third string quarterback. First and second string went to Brock Berlin and Jesse Palmer who Rex filled in for after an injury on the field. Grossman threw several interceptions against the University of Georgia, causing Steve Spurier, the coach, to pull Rex out of the game and replace him with Berlin. The next week, Grossman redeemed himself by completing 21 out of 34 passes for two touchdowns and 334 yards.

In 2001, Grossman led the Gators to a 10-2 season, coming in second for the Heisman Trophy to Eric Crouch by only 62 votes. He was named AP National Player-of-the-Year and was a finalist for several other awards, ending his sophomore year with a 56-23 victory in the 2002 Orange Bowl which was played against the University of Maryland. In 2003, during his junior year, Grossman led the Gators to the Outback Bowl where the Gators lost 38-30. Rex decided to skip his final year of college and declared himself for drafting in the NFL.

Professional career

Early setbacks

In 2003, during the first round NFL Draft, Grossman was drafted by the Chicago Bears. Bears coach Dick Juron, benched Grossman in favor of more experienced quarterbacks; he played very infrequently, but managed to break his finger in 2004. The Bears hired Lovie Smith prior ro the beginning of the 2004 season and Grossman was soon declared starting quarterback. Grossman tore ligaments in his knee and was forced to spend the rest of the season in recovery. Following an ankle fracture, Grossman was sidelined for the majority of the 2005 season. Grossman missed most of the 2005 NFL season after breaking his ankle in a pre-season game.

Return

At the start of the 2006 season Grossman started in sixteen games. Some fans criticized Grossman, saying his work ethic left much to be desired; this was due, in part, to his inconsistent performances. Coach Lovie Smith was unwavering in his support of Grossman and stated that Grossman would continue as the Bears’ quarterback through the playoffs. Grossman led the Bears to a 39-14 victory the next week, allowing the Bears the NFC Championship and eventually Super Bowl XLI.

Grossman’s 23 touchdowns in just one season makes him one of the best quarterbacks in Bears’ history, however his 20 interceptions in a single season are among the highest in Bears’ history. Even so, Grossman was awarded the Ed Block Courage Award at the end of the season, an award that highlights a player’s personal characteristics as being those of a positive role model.

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