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Hanie ready to take reins of Bears' offense; McCown signs

With Jay Cutler out, Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie has no choice but to step up as his team's new starter.

"Sometimes it's better to be there and be shocked and then 'boom' you're in the game because you don't even have to think about," Hanie said Wednesday.

Cutler suffered a broken right thumb last Sunday against San Diego while trying to make a tackle on an interception. He had successful surgery Wednesday and is out indefinitely with the Bears hoping he can return before the regular season ends in six weeks.

The job right now is Hanie's, and he will make his first NFL start Sunday at Oakland as the Bears go for their sixth straight victory.

"You have the whole week to think about it so you get a little more nervous, but at the same time if you prepare the right way you'll be confident going into the game," Hanie said.

Hanie has appeared in two games this season without throwing a pass. He's attempted only 14 regular-season passes in his career that began when he was signed by the Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2008. In the NFC championship game against the Packers at Soldier Field 10 months ago, he completed 13 of 20 passes for 153 yards with a TD and the two picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

"Just try to be myself," Hanie said, looking ahead to Sunday. "I feel like I take control of the huddle and I'm a vocal guy when I need to be. And so that's my approach to it. Jay is a strong leader and he's grown into the role more this season, as well. We expect him back, so I'm just filling his shoes."

Chicago agreed to terms on a deal with veteran quarterback Josh McCown on Wednesday, giving the Bears some depth. The Bears had put in a claim for their former starter Kyle Orton, who was sent to Denver as part of the Cutler trade and waived this week by the Broncos. Orton was instead claimed by the Chiefs.

Bears coach Lovie Smith told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday that rookie Nathan Enderle "is in the backup role right now" and the team would wait and evaluate McCown before pressing him to play.

"I talked to Lovie this morning and he just said whatever veteran quarterback we bring in you don't need to worry about it," Hanie said. "You're our guy. That was it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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