Jay Cutler: Bears future ‘conversations for the end of the year’

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Jay Cutler returned to practice Tuesday. (AP)

Saying that there’s “never been any strain” in the relationship between he and coach John Fox, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler maintained Tuesday that talk of his future will the team shouldn’t be considered until the end of the season.

“I think those are conversations for the end of the year,” he said. “Right now I’m working with (offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains) and (quarterbacks coach Dave Raggone) and we’re just trying to find first downs and get our third-down conversion rate back up, score more points. That’s all we’re really trying to do and that’s all my focus is.

“Whatever happens at the end of the year, it’s supposed to happen, and we’ll go accordingly. But right now it’s not something that I worry about. It’s my 11th year, my eighth year here. I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs, and it’s how it goes. At the end of the year, we can have those conversations. Whatever happens, happens.”

Cutler practiced Tuesday and will start Monday against the Vikings. He missed five games after leaving Game 2 with sprained right thumb ligaments.

But for one very limited practice, Cutler had not participated since the injury — until the Bears needed a starting quarterback after Brian Hoyer broke his left arm Thursday. He was placed on injured reserve Monday, one day after having surgery.

Asked if he felt like he had Fox’s support, Cutler was blunt.

“He doesn’t a choice, I guess, at this point,” he said. “Brian is out, so I’ve got to go. I’ve had good conversations with Foxy this week, last week, the week before. There’s never been any strain in our relationship. We’re both very open and honest, and we’re on the same page. We just want to win football games.”

Cutler is in the third year of a seven-year, $126.7 million deal, but the Bears can walk away from his contract at the end of this season with no financial penalty.

Cutler praised Hoyer’s performance in his absence. and said he didn’t take offense when Fox said his starter would be based on performance.

“It is what it is,” he said. “Anytime you have a backup quarterback—and to Brian’s credit, he played well. I think as a team, we wish we would have won some more of those ball games. But Brian went in there and did a great job. My discussions with everybody that I have relationships with in here were positive, and whenever I was ready to go, I’d be ready to go. There was never any discussion regarding that with me.”

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