How's this for classy? On the same day that its Bears columnist David Haugh wrote a loving, don't-be-mad-at-Rex tribute to the departing quarterback, the Chicago Tribune is actively counting down, on its web site, the hours until Grossman becomes a free agent. Nice.
Still, don't blame the Trib. They're merely channeling what has become a weird public Bears hatred for the former first-round pick. Plenty of athletes achieve exile in Chicago, but few are so openly scorned -- with such little off-field cause -- as one Mr. Rex Grossman.
Why? Why do we hate the former Florida QB so much? Is it because he was so erratic? Is it because he let Bears fans down on the ultimate stage -- the Super Bowl? Is it something about his attitude? What is it?
David Haugh's column attempts to get around the topic today, and he hits on something important: that the Bears quarterback was seemingly given special treatment by Bears coach Lovie Smith. That may or may not be true, but it was hard for most fans to reconcile Grossman's play on the field with Lovie's famous proclamations -- "Rex is our quarterback" -- off it. Add in the first-round pick and, right or wrong, people start to perceive entitlement. That didn't help.
But the real reason Bears fans are so willing to kick Rex to the curb is this: frustration. Not just because Rex was bad. No, Bears fans are so frustrated because, on rare occasions, Grossman could be that good. He had games that defied all logic, games that made him look like the next great quarterback of his generation. Then, a week later, he'd be back to Bad Rex, tossing deep interceptions as if he didn't care which color jersey caught the ball, so long as he got to chuck it deep.
That's where the frustration comes from. Rex gave Bears fans hope, and then just as quickly dashed it. Fair or not, that will be his Second City legacy.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.