Brett Favre is an option for the injury-plagued Chicago Bears, sources say.
The Bears have not contacted the former Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings quarterback, but sources close to Favre say he is willing to consider a return to the N.F.L.
The Bears lost quarterback Jay Cutler for the remainder of the regular season. Backup Caleb Hanie has not fared well in his two starts since Cutler went down.
Hanie has completed less than half of his passes in his two starts (both losses) while throwing six interceptions. The performance is in stark contrast to Cutler’s who had led Chicago to a five-game winning streak before fracturing his right thumb.
The thumb, which was on his throwing hand, required surgery and has forced Cutler to remain cautiously optimistic about a return by season’s end.
On Monday, head coach Lovie Smith told reporters that the Bears wouldn’t be looking elsewhere for a quarterback.
"That's our group," Smith said of his current stable of quarterbacks. "We're going to make improvements with our group. We're not looking on the outside. We won't have a quarterback tryout or anything like that.”
After Hanie on the depth chart is the recently acquired Josh McCown. The journeyman quarterback has reportedly struggled in practice.
Rookie Nathan Enderle is the fourth and final quarterback on the Bears rosters. In his first year out of Idaho, Enderle hasn’t thrown a regular season pass and has been inactive for 9 of the Bear’s first 12 games.
The 42-year-old Favre retired from football after last season following two years with the Minnesota Vikings. After being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1991, Favre spent 16 seasons in Green Bay before being traded to the New York Jets in 2008.
He owns almost every major passing record including career touchdowns, completions, yards and interceptions.
Favre created annual drama for the last six years of his career, playing coy with reporters and team officials about his playing status.
Some are also speculating the Bears will target another veteran ex-Vikings quarterback in Donovan McNabb. McNabb was released from the Vikings last week after being demoted to third string.
The Bears are currently tied with the Detroit Lions for second place in the NFC North. Both are behind the 12-0 Green Bay Packers, who clinched the division this weekend.
Chicago is however in the middle of a wildcard race which pits them against the Lions (7-5), Atlanta Falcons (7-5), Dallas Cowboys (7-5) and New York Giants (6-6) for two spots.
Chicago has four games remaining including trips to Denver and Green Bay.