Like clockwork Monday, the Brett Favre rumors began.
It happened when Philadelphia was in search of a backup quarterback this summer. It happened when Indianapolis lost Peyton Manning before the season began. It happened when Houston lost starter Matt Schaub a few weeks ago. And it happened when the Bears lost Jay Cutler.
ESPN reported Monday that a "source" in the Favre camp said the 42-year-old quarterback would listen if the Bears called him.
He shouldn't expect his phone to ring anytime soon.
Lovie Smith said Monday what he's said about all his quarterbacks, it seems.
"Caleb is our quarterback," Smith declared Monday afternoon, a day after a poor performance in a 10-3 loss to the Chiefs. "(Hanie), like the rest of our team, didn't play well. But give us a little bit of time. There's this week. Hopefully we'll see some improvements this week for our team."
Smith's optimism is never-ending, considering he also is confident Cutler will return before the Bears' regular-season finale at Minnesota.
"We're not having a quarterback tryout or anything like that," Smith said. "These are our guys and we're all going to get better."
That includes Matt Forte, who Smith said should return in a couple weeks. A source told the Tribune Forte suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee, an injury that usually takes four weeks of recovery. Forte, however, has a history of being a fast healer.
"MCL sprain going into the fourth quarter of the season, we should be in pretty good shape," Smith said. "Can't tell you exactly when on whether it's this week, next week or whatever. Hopefully, we'll get him back soon.''
Soon might not be quick enough for the 7-5 Bears.