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Josh McCown: "I just want to do whatever I can to help"

The flirtation was mutual, even though they didn’t connect.

The Bears have explored signing Josh McCown several times, as far as back as 2006, according to coach Lovie Smith. And McCown didn’t mask his interest in the summer of 2010.

“I’m very excited,” McCown told the Sun-Times. “I’ve always kind of been interested [in the Bears], and I love what they do. They’ve got a good, hard-nosed football team, and they’ve done a great job over the last five or six years.

“Obviously, there’s that connection with coach [Mike] Martz, and I can jump into a system I’m familiar with. All those things make it neat and special. I just want to do whatever I can to help.”

McCown, 32, last played in an NFL game in 2009, with the Carolina Panthers. But he was with the San Francisco 49ers during training camp, and he completed all four pass attempts for 51 yards in the preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers.

Since then, he’s been a high school football coach.

“I felt like I played well,” McCown said of his time with the 49ers. “You kind of have this itch, and you’re like, ‘Oh man, I want to do it again.’ ”

Asked if he was frustrated, given the poor quarterback play this season, McCown said, “There’s an element of that.

“Every competitor says, ‘I wish I was playing.’ But for me, you can’t question what God has planned for you. I had peace with it, but I can’t say there weren’t moments of frustration.”

Originally a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2002, McCown has started 31 of 47 games in eight NFL seasons. He’s bounced around the league, quite a bit, but he played for Martz in Detroit in 2006.

He’s 6 foot 4, 213 pounds, and he played at Sam Houston State.