Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a concussion last week against the Houston Texans. The Bears announced today that, due to his head trauma, Cutler will not play against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. Jason Campbell will start in his place.
Cutler suffered the injury in the second quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Houston Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins, who was fined $30,000 by the NFL for the hit. Cutler finished out the first half but did not return after concussion symptoms were diagnosed in the locker room at halftime.
Campbell was signed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal this offseason for this very reason. Last season, after Cutler was lost with a thumb injury, the wheels fell off the team with the inexperienced Caleb Hanie under center. Bears brass weren't willing to let that happen again and overpaid for a backup that has started 70 games in his career.
"[Campbell] is a pro who's been around a long time, has thrown a lot of passes, has been in a lot of huddles, the guys feel comfortable with him," Lovie Smith said yesterday. "There's a reason why we have him here as our backup quarterback.
"Jason being around a while, he knows it's a long season and backups have to play from time to time. And I know that he'll be ready to go. If Jason has to play, believe me, we feel real good about him."
Rookie defensive end Shea McClellin, who suffered a concussion in the first quarter against the Texans, has also been ruled out. The team has not announced who will take his roster spot but Cheta Ozougwu, a second-year speed rusher, seems the likeliest candidate.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.