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A smiling Rex Grossman

by Thomas Jensen on Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

A smiling Rex GrossmanWhen you watch the Media Day festivities/highlights from Miami on Tuesday, it won't take you long to see a shot of Rex Grossman. And, chances are, no matter how long you watch, you're destined to see what he's been doing since he was an untested quarterback at the University of Florida. 

Smile.

Yes, embattled Rex Grossman, thrown around by the Chicago and national media like a rag doll this season, is still smiling. And he can't help it. It's his moniker, his logo. Things just slide off his back, good or bad, and through it all, he maintains a sense of reality, a sense of happiness, a sense of "I don't care what you think of me."

Of course, keep in mind; he's a first-round quarterback playing in the NFL for millions of dollars. So he has reason to smile, lots of reasons, in fact. But we digress.

"I'm happy where I'm at," Grossman said. "I'm at the Super Bowl." Bet on the Super Bowl at WagerWeb.com and receive a 30% bonus! 

Indeed he is, no matter what people say about him. He doesn't have the numbers that Sunday's opponent, Peyton Manning, has. Heck, he didn't have the numbers that his last opponent, Drew Brees, had. But he has done enough to get the Bears back to the Super Bowl, even though they are7-point underdogs against the Colts on WagerWeb.com.

"The ball is in your hand every single play," Grossman said. "You're the guy people look at."    

Again, that is nothing new to Grossman, which is one of the reasons, perhaps; he handles all the bumps in the road so well. People sometimes lose sight of the absolute enormity that Florida football — this year's national championship notwithstanding — has become. Florida is often forgotten when the nation's most important programs — Notre Dame, USC, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan — are brought up.

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When you're a starter for the Gators, though, you have one of the most rabid student fan bases, not to mention one of the wealthiest and influential alumni bases, on your back night and day. Also, remember, Grossman played for Steve Spurrier, who just happened to win a Heisman Trophy as a Gators quarterback.

So, please don't bother him with the "pressure" question. He's been facing it for years.

"I don't care who you are," Grossman said. "It's a position that just comes with it."

And if he stumbles Sunday at Dolphin Stadium, he'll have to face even more criticism. Somehow, though, he'll find a way to smile in the end.

Media Day Memories: Set your TiVos. No matter which cable network you choose to view the Media Day festivities in Miami, keep an eye on two players who will draw quite a crowd.

For the Colts, watch Marvin Harrison. The Pro Bowl receiver is an absolute terror on the field, but in front of the microphone, he's anything but. In fact, he rarely even talks to the media, so he'll be a little out of practice no matter what he comes up with.

For the Bears, watch Tank Johnson, if you can find him beneath the swarm. Johnson, who seems to have more arrests and accompanying headlines than he does sacks this season, needed a court order just to fly to Miami. Surely, he'll come up with something.

Extra Points: The Rams and starting quarterback Marc Bulger are in the middle of talks regarding a contract extension. The former West Virginia Mountaineer has only one year left on his contract. … Cal running back Marshawn Lynch is in a heap of trouble as the draft nears. He has been hit with a restraining order and is accused of sexual assault. Obviously, his draft status — which was quite high after his terrific season with the Golden Bears — hangs in the balance.

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