Josh McCown was enjoying the game Sunday night because he likes to keep up with his Bears teammates from last season.
He admits, however, that he started to doze off in the second half of the loss to the Houston Texans, even after starting quarterback Jay Cutler was removed from the game following a concussion. McCown, who bailed out the Bears last season in a similar situation, said he couldn't keep his eyes open.
But a phone call from the Bears to his home in North Carolina snapped him out of his nap.
"Those night games are hard to stay awake for," he said. "I started nodding off and then the phone rang, so that started the ball rolling."
So, just like last season, when McCown signed Nov. 23 following Cutler's fractured thumb, he's back at Halas Hall as a backup. And, just like last season, the call came days after the Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw, N.C.) High School football team he coaches was eliminated from the state playoffs by Charlotte Catholic.
That spared the 33-year-old McCown from agonizing over abandoning the kids he coaches for a chance to pursue the passion to play he still possesses.
"I had a lot of conversations with my wife, 'If the Bears call this is going to be tough,' " McCown said. "Because you get invested with the kids and you get invested with wanting to help that team win. I was committed to it, just like I'm committed to this.
"The common logic is, 'You're getting paid a lot better in the NFL,' but for me, it's about building those kids' lives. It was a prayer of ours all the time, 'God, if you can work this out where this ends and then I can go (play), that would be great.'
"I'm thankful for that, two years in a row this has happened. I hate to come under these circumstances, but I'm glad to be here."
McCown feels better prepared to help the Bears this time around since he spent last off-season in the program and had a full training camp before he was released on Aug. 31. Physically, he threw every day with his high school team, which helps, but only to a certain extent.
"There's a difference throwing a slant route or a 'go' ball to a high school kid and throwing it to Brandon Marshall," McCown said.
Swing and a miss:
Kicker Robbie Gould has been very critical the Soldier Field playing surface, calling it is way too soft this season.
But he may have gone a bit overboard Wednesday afternoon in the locker room, prompting a retraction later in the day.
"Their job is to take care of the football field, just like my job is to make kicks and kick off and fill my role on the team," Gould said in reference to the Soldier Field grounds crew. "You would think and hope they would take just as much pride in doing that as I take in my own job.
"It's not me trying to get anyone fired. But there is a little bit of a player rep side of me, and then there's also the kicker in me that says, 'Hey listen, this is directly affecting me.' Not that I'm making excuses. That's not why I missed the field goal on Sunday, and it's not why I missed the other field goals this year."
Gould has missed only 3 of 21 FG attempts this season, but he may have been wide right on his original comments. Hours later, he issued a new statement through the Bears.
"I need to apologize to the grounds crew at Soldier Field and our grounds crew for my recent comments regarding the field," Gould's statement said. "I have since learned a lot more about the NFL's policies and the measures that are taken at Soldier Field to ensure a reliable and safe playing surface. It was my mistake to speak prior to having a full understanding."