New England Patriots quarterback Tony Eason missed today's practice because of a "mild viral illness," according to team physician Bertram Zarins.

"At this point, it doesn't look serious," Zarins said.

Veteran Steve Grogan took all of the snaps with the first team offense, playing with a brace on his left knee, which he injured two months ago. Coach Raymond Berry said Grogan would start if Eason can't play. Tom Ramsey is the team's No. 3 quarterback.

"I don't really know how serious it is right now," Berry said. "There's a possibility it could be a whopper. They don't really know."

Meanwhile, Bears kicker Kevin Butler also missed today's practice after being treated for flu symptoms earlier in the day. Trainer Fred Caito said Butler complained of cramping, nausea and dehydration. He was taken to Southern Baptist Hospital and given an injection to alleviate the cramping.

"He'll be okay," Coach Mike Ditka said. "This is the biggest game of his life."

Defensive tackle Steve McMichael kicked in practice.

Wide receiver Dennis McKinnon, suffering from a hip pointer, did not practice for the second time this week. If he is unable to play, he will be replaced by Ken Margerum.