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Jason Campbell readies for Chicago Bears' starting role

Jason Campbell: This is your life.

The seventh-year quarterback took a pretty pay check this season to serve as Jay Cutler's understudy with the Chicago Bears. With Cutler recovering from a concussion, Campbell gets a shot -- perhaps his only shot -- to audition for a starting job elsewhere in 2013.

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Campbell's relief work in Sunday night's loss to the Houston Texans left much to be desired, but a pass is in order. It's not easy to step into that situation -- poor conditions, no practice reps, facing a top defense -- and light it up. Campbell was tentative against the Texans. He'll need to be far more assertive against the San Francisco 49ers.

On the surface, drawing the Niners' fearsome defense might seem to be a bit of bad luck. It's probably the opposite. If Campbell can move his team against a hugely respected defense, his stock will soar.

If that happened, Campbell should be thrilled if Cutler replaces him the next week. A small, but impressive, sample size for QB-needy teams.

We doubt Campbell joined the Bears with the intention of being an insurance policy the rest of his career. On Monday, he gets a golden opportunity to remind teams he's best gripping a football, not a clipboard.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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