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Quarterback Josh McCown would leave Bears to compete for starting job

Josh McCown's surprising 2013 campaign may earn him a starting job, but it won't be in Chicago.Josh McCown's stunning 2013 season may earn him a starting job, but it won't be in Chicago. (Scott Boehm/AP)

Veteran quarterback Josh McCown is one of the most reliable back ups that will be available when the NFL free agency officially gets underway Tuesday afternoon. However, after an outstanding run of performances while filling in for an injured Jay Cutler, McCown appears to be eyeing a bigger role for his future.

McCown, who is coming off of the best season of his career, said he understands he may need to move on from the Chicago Bears and he would be willing to do so if a starting opportunity presents itself.

“To leave Chicago, it'll be a situation where I'm looking to compete to start or to start,” McCown said, via the Chicago Tribune. “And to be able to kind of grow more as a player. And the only way you can do that as a player is on the field. So, that'll definitely be something that we're looking at. We'll see. We'll see what opportunities come and where we're at [Tuesday].”

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The 11-year quarterback threw for 1,829 yards with 13 touchdowns and one interception in eight games for the Bears last season. In his five starts, McCown racked up 1,543 yards and 11 touchdowns with the lone pick. McCown's last stint as a starter came in 2007, when he started nine games for the Oakland Raiders

The JetsBuccaneersTexans and Bears are all believed to be options for McCown, with the former three all presenting starting opportunities.

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In New York, Jets head coach Rex Ryan has yet to commit to Geno Smith as the 2014 starter, while the Texans are expected to move on from Matt Schaub. Tampa Bay has Mike Glennon, but there is no guarantee that he will be the team's starter when the 2014 season kicks off.

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McCown may have his options, but don't expect him to sign quickly. The 34-year-old is going to make a calculated decision that will set him up for what will likely be the final chapter of his career.

“If I leave Chicago, if that's the case, then that's the opportunity that I'm looking for and want to evaluate,” McCown said. “And then, once those opportunities come, it's, 'What's the coaching staff? What are the players there in place?' All those things about Chicago that made it come together, those are vital pieces and important things to a quarterback's success. So those are the things I'm going to want to evaluate as we go through this.”

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