Bears Talking Favre?

A quarterback competition promises to

heat up the Chicago Bears' training camp, and coach Lovie Smith

wanted to make it clear there was no perceived favorite between Rex

Grossman and Kyle Orton.

"It's dead even," Smith said Tuesday as the Bears reported to

Olivet Nazarene University for a camp that kicks off with a first

practice Wednesday.

"I think it will be a great competition between Rex and Kyle or

Kyle and Rex, however you want to say it. The guy who ends up

winning the position, we feel real good about him leading us where

we want to go."

So who gets the first snap with the first team on Wednesday?

"Practice is tomorrow at 3 (p.m.). See you there," Smith


Smith wouldn't set a date for deciding the starter, even if he

has one in mind. He said teams generally like to have their

starters play together for the third preseason game. The Bears

begin their preseason schedule Aug. 7

"As far as competition when it goes, I want the players to

think they have as many chances as they possibly can to prove they

deserve to be in a certain position," Smith added. "I just don't

think that's anything that no one else really needs to know right


One guy who isn't in the Bears' picture is a player who has

beaten them often - Brett Favre. Favre and the Green Bay Packers

are embroiled in a rift after he decided he wanted to play again

and not retire.

"Brett Favre is one of the all-time great players to play our

game for a long period of time," Smith said. "I assume he'll play

for the Packers this year. If not there, I assume somebody out

there, I don't who that is."

The Bears have plenty to sort out during training camp other

than the battle between Grossman, who led the team to the Super

Bowl two years ago but whose career has been characterized by

erratic play, and Orton, who started 15 games in 2005 and the final

three last season.

Chicago is revamping its offensive line and a lot is contingent

on getting first-round pick Chris Williams signed so he can learn

the left tackle spot that is so crucial to protecting the


With the departures of Ruben Brown and Fred Miller, John Tait

has moved to right tackle alongside Robert Garza. Terrence Metcalf,

Josh Beekman and veteran John St. Clair are all candidates for

playing time on the left side.

Williams is expected to be the starter and Smith said he thinks

the young tackle will sign soon.

"If you're a rookie and if you're just looking at what history

tell you, you need to be in camp that first day. You want to blend

in that first day, you don't want to come out and stick out as

being the only story that's happening that day," Smith said.

"I assume he'll be here and ready to play."

After the release of the Cedric Benson following two off-field

incidents, the Bears could turn to second-round pick Matt Forte as

their starting running back, but it could be recently signed Kevin

Jones, who's coming off a knee injury and will be brought along


With speedy Bernard Berrian now with the Vikings, the Bears

brought back Marty Booker and added Brandon Lloyd to a receiving

corps that will feature return star Devin Hester.

And Smith said he expects the Bears to play defense like they

did two years ago en route to winning the NFC. Tackle Tommy Harris

and linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher, who form the core

of the defense, all have new deals since last season. Reports say

Urlacher agreed Monday to a one-year contract extension through

2012 that is worth $18 million. He is coming off minor neck surgery

in the offseason.

The Bears also need a healthy Nathan Vasher in the secondary. He

played only four games last season.