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Free-agent QB Warner meets with Bears

CHICAGO (March 4, 2005) -- Kurt Warner was in town to visit with officials of the Chicago Bears, the second stop on a three-team tour for the two-time NFL MVP.

"The visits are about trying to find what he thinks is the best place. He's ready to play," agent Mark Bartelstein said. "He had a terrific season with the Giants and is healthy as he can be. He's looking for the right situation."

Warner was in Arizona on March 3 and will be in Detroit on March 5.

Warner, who had been bothered by injuries in recent years, completed 174-of-277 passes for 2,054 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions last season with the Giants. He led New York to a 5-2 start before the team lost its next two games and turned the starting quarterback job over to top draft pick Eli Manning.

He has said he wants to be a starter and knows Bears head coach Lovie Smith, the former Rams defensive coordinator, from the time both were in St. Louis. Warner led the Rams to two Super Bowls.

Rex Grossman, the Bears' projected starter, was knocked out in the third game last season with a torn knee ligament and Chicago went through a series of backups -- Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel and Chad Hutchinson. Quinn was released last week. Krenzel and Hutchinson are still on the roster. Grossman is expected to be ready by training camp.

Chicago made a quick splash in free agency, signing wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad to a six-year deal to upgrade the league's worst offense from a year ago. They subsequently cut former first-round pick David Terrell.

The Bears also are expected to meet next week with two other free agent quarterbacks, Brad Johnson and Jay Fiedler.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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