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1985 Bears Coverage: Fuller probable starter vs. Lions

Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Fuller probable starter vs. Lions

Kevin Lamb

Originally published Nov. 8, 1985

Bears coach Mike Ditka announced this afternoon backup quarterback Steve Fuller probably will start Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

For the third time this season, Bear number one quarterback Jim McMahon’s availability was in doubt 48 hours before game time.

Yesterday, Ditka called it a “very real possibility” that Fuller would replace McMahon .

This afternoon he said: “Jim would be in reserve and there’s a possibility he could play in the game. But right now we’re going to start Steve.”

Ditka’s diagnosis yesterday surprised trainer Fred Caito, who said McMahon is “going to play Sunday, no question – as of now.” Caito didn’t even put McMahon on the injury report.

All McMahon had to say then, as he walked briskly past reporters, was that his sprained right shoulder felt “good.”

“If Jim’s ready, he’ll play,” Ditka said. “I just think you’ve got to look at it realistically.

“I don’t think we’re going to let him play throwing left-handed. He hasn’t been able to work. We’ll have to see what he does tomorrow.”

McMahon threw left-handed during practice. Caito said he hadn’t planned to let McMahon use his right arm because “I didn’t want it to get any more sore.”

McMahon also wore an electric muscle stimulator under his shirt.

Ditka was more certain that wide receiver Willie Gault and tight end Emery Moorehead wouldn’t start because of their injured ribs and knee, respectively. He said he was “leaning toward starting” Ken Margerum for Gault and Tim Wrightman for Moorehead.

The only other lineup change would be on merit at injured Mike Richardson’s left cornerback spot. Reggie Phillips will replace Ken Taylor.

Besides the shoulder injury, Caito said McMahon has “a sore ankle, a sore thigh, a sore neck. He’s just generally sore.

“Actually, I’m pleased with how he is right now, for the 10th week. The bruises on his legs are healing up. His back feels fine.

“He’s always going to have something. He’s not Bobby Douglass. You could have run him through a car wash.”

McMahon was injured on a broken play Sunday.

Robert Brown tackled McMahon for a seven-yard loss, spoiling a drive to the Packer 28. Brown’s tackle left McMahon vulnerable to a hit by Mike Douglass, who drove his elbow into the turf.

“I don’t think it affected his performance,” Caito said. “He didn’t say anything to me about it. A lot of times, he’ll say, `You better get Steve warmed up.’ ”

The injury would affect McMahon Sunday Caito said.

As McMahon often has said, “I enjoy pain.”