Q&A This week''s guest: QB Jim Miller

Things have not gone the way Chicago Bears quarterback Jim Miller would have liked this season, but the former Michigan State star hasn''t lost hope that he will be able to recover from shoulder and elbow tendinitis in his throwing arm that bothered him all year. A gritty performance in 2002 saw Miller only throw on game days at times because the pain was barely tolerable. His season ended with three games to play when he sustained a knee injury against Miami. Regardless if the Bears draft the likes of a Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich or Dave Ragone, Miller appears to remain in Chicago''s plans next season. And he said, after offseason surgery, he''ll be ready to regroup and lead the Bears back to respectability. Miller talks about everything from being the guy the players still trust the most and playing for coach Dick Jauron as he watches the Bears'' final game of the season. Q:Is this the most trying season you''ve been through? A:It''s frustrating when you come into the season with expectations. We''ve had more than a few downs this season. It''s awful. It''s the most bizarre year I''ve ever been in. It''s very disappointing. Q:Is it fair for a team to get all the breaks one year and hardly none the next? A:We''ve had our opportunities, but it''s like one thing happens after another. To be a winning football team we have to rectify that. It has been the story of the whole season. Q: Is surgery the answer to remedy the shoulder? A:There''s no doubt something has to be done. Something is obviously not right. I''m just kind of dealing with a lot of things there. We''d like to get it done right away. Q:Why was it important for you to keep playing even when you were in pain (with the shoulder)? A: If I can go out there and make the plays to help this team win, I''ll do it. I want to play. I don''t want to be the martyr of the group. Q:Despite the injuries, do you finally feel comfortable as a pro quarterback? A:Yeah, because the game has slowed down. Mentally, I feel I''m at the top of my game. I feel like I understand defenses. Before, everything used to seem like a blur, and now it''s like slow motion. Q:Despite the disappointing season, why is it easy for players on this team, including yourself, to back coach Dick Jauron? A:The guys want to play hard for Coach Jauron. I think he''s a great coach. I don''t think people here understand how great of a coach he is. Guys want to play extremely hard for him. Q:Is there any one reason for the Bears'' slide this season? A: It''s not just the same guy. It''s always somebody different. You can''t just point at one person and say, ''That''s the problem.'' Q: Is this team capable of regrouping in time to be successful next season? A:This is a good football team. We obviously didn''t want to be where we are. We''ll get back where we need to be. I believe that. Q:Is it comforting to know people in this organization still believe you are the right guy to run this offense? A:It makes me feel good because I think probably one of my strengths is that I''m a good leader. I''m not a quarterback who is going to run around and do certain things. I make good decisions, and I get rid of the football. I worked hard to get where I am, and sometimes people are like, ''Well, you''re a journeyman,'' or you''re this or that, but I''m very proud to be where I am. I''m proud to be the guy in this organization that can run this team.

Sections (3):Illini Sports, Sports, Other
Location (2):Chicago, State


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