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New Bear Josh McCown joins team

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Despite his familiarity with Mike Martz's offensive system, new Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown admits the eventual move to No. 2 on the depth chart will be a difficult proposition.

McCown started flipping through Martz's playbook as early as Monday morning, when conversations became heated between his representatives and the Bears.

"I was getting excited, then [the conversations] started dragging out," McCown said. "I was thinking, 'This might not happen.' I said, 'I need to put this up because it's going to be a big letdown.' You start to look at the plays in [Martz's] system, and you get excited as a quarterback. So thankfully, I got the call and I'm here."

Now it's time for McCown to put together some cram sessions to reacquaint himself with Martz's offense, so he can be the team's insurance in the event that new starter Caleb Hanie -- filling in for injured Jay Cutler -- goes down with an injury over the next several weeks.

"Kind of coming in late like this, it would be hard to hop in there and be the [No.] two right now," McCown said. "We'll see how that goes. I just want to be here and help these guys, whatever spot they put me at, and be a sounding board for Caleb [Hanie] and [No. 3 quarterback] Nate [Enderle]."

McCown arrived in Chicago on Wednesday night from Charlotte, N.C., where he'd just finished a stint coaching high school football. McCown said once his team "got knocked out of the playoffs," he commenced to "working out and throwing" in anticipation for a shot at another job in the NFL.

Having worked with Martz in Detroit back in 2006, McCown knew the Bears would likely call once Cutler suffered a broken right thumb Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

"You hate to see that happen," McCown said of Cutler's injury, which is expected to keep him out for the remainder of the regular season. "When any player gets hurt, you're bummed for them, especially as a fellow quarterback. But I knew my situation. Wanting to play again, I knew it was going to come on the heels of someone getting hurt."

The Bears tabbed McCown when their top waiver choice -- Kyle Orton -- was claimed by Kansas City on Wednesday. Orton played for Chicago from 2005-08 and was traded to Denver prior to the 2009 season.

Now that he's back in the NFL, McCown looks to make the most of his opportunity. A former third-round pick of Arizona in 2002, McCown has started 31 of 47 games over eight seasons spent with the Cardinals, Lions, Raiders and Panthers.

His best season came with the Cardinals in 2004 when he completed 233 of 408 attempts for 2,511 yards, with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

"He gives us a guy who can go right in there and play," Martz said.

Still, McCown pointed out that the offensive coordinator's scheme has evolved since the two worked together in Detroit.

"A lot of stuff is very similar; it's just getting back up to speed," McCown said. "There are little wrinkles here and there. Over the years, things change. Mike is always pushing the envelope, and creating new things. It's just getting used to those, and getting acclimated to timing and speed. It's a quarterback-friendly system. If you know where you're going with the football, you can make a lot of throws."

Bears coach Lovie Smith said the club tried to sign McCown back in 2006 before he joined the Lions, then again last season in training camp, adding that "it's only fitting that we get him to become a part of our team."

McCown, meanwhile, says he's "just thankful to have a job."

McCown has completed 57.7 percent of his passes for 6,584 yards, 35 touchdowns and 40 interceptions. The new backup quarterback expects Hanie to perform well Sunday when the Bears face the Oakland Raiders on the road.

"[As a backup], you sit and you see the timing and the [passing] windows all year, and where the ball is supposed to go. You have a lot of time to study," McCown said. "I think, too, you come in fresh. You come in there and [you're] cutting it loose and playing. I'm anticipating Caleb will do that."

Hanie, a 26-year-old fourth year pro out of Colorado State, will make his first career start on Sunday at Oakland. He's appeared briefly in two games this season. In 2010 he was pressed into service in the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay following a Cutler knee injury.

Hanie should have wide receiver Devin Hester available as a target. Hester was held out of Thursday's practice as a precaution.

"Really it's just some soreness right now, so we kept him out to be ready to go Sunday," Smith said. "(Cornerback) D.J. Moore (ankle injury) is getting better, still not looking good for him this week."

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.