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Jason Campbell will start in place of Jay Cutler for Bears

Jay Cutler gets a hand. (Nam Y. Huh / AP)

Jay Cutler hasn’t been cleared to practice since suffering a concussion Sunday, so the Chicago Bears have officially announced that their starting quarterback Monday night will be Jason Campbell.

Campbell will make the 71st start of his career and is 31-39. After two seasons in Oakland, Campbell, who was the 25th overall pickin the 2005 draft by the Washington Redskins, signed with the Bears in March.

On Thursday, Coach Lovie Smith was asked if the Bears might keep Cutler out of Monday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, an important game that may have a bearing on NFC seeding, as a precaution. “I just can’t wait for us to get to the point where Jay is ready to play and then we’ll make all of those decisions then,” Smith said (via the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs). “First, just get ready to practice and then we’ll go get to that next step.”

Cutler’s counterpart, Alex Smith, has at least returned to practice, in a limited capacity, since suffering a concussion himself last weekend. Smith has not yet been fully cleared, but it appears likely that he will be. 

Cutler was hurt late in the first half Sunday on a helmet-to-helmet hit that resulted in a $30,000 fine for Houston’s Tim Dobbins. Cutler finished the half, but showed concussion symptoms in the locker room and Campbell came in, completing 11 of 19 passes for 94 yards. 

“He’s thrown a lot of passes, been in a lot of huddles,” Smith said. “The guys feel comfortable, of course, with him. There’s a reason why we have him here as our backup quarterback. Jason being around a while knows that it’s a long season and backups have to play from time to time. And I know he’s ready to go. If Jason has to play, believe me, we feel real good about it.”

Earlier this week, the Bears signed Josh McCown, whom they’d cut in training camp.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.


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After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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