Jay Cutler is 1-2 as the Bears’ starter this year. (AP)

With Jay Cutler back, Bears ‘like a big family that’s reunited’

SHARE With Jay Cutler back, Bears ‘like a big family that’s reunited’
SHARE With Jay Cutler back, Bears ‘like a big family that’s reunited’

Kyle Long looked around the practice field this week, and smiled.

“We’re like a big family that’s reunited out there,” he said.

Consider Jay Cutler the patriarch, then.

While circumstances have contributed — the Bears enter Sunday’s game in Tampa not having lost in 23 days or taken a hit in 13 —the rush of good feelings at Halas Hall coincided with Cutler’s return.

“He’s got a good spirit, man,” inside linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “He’s always a humble guy. He don’t say too much but he works his tail off. He loves to win.

“He’s just mellow. But game time, he’s a different guy. He’s a monster out there.”

Tight end Zach Miller joked that he wrote the quarterback in on his Presidential ballot, while Long said he’s had fun watching fellow guard Josh Sitton and others “see the side of Jay that I know as Jay“ now that everyone is healthy at practice.

Cutler has felt that support since he returned from a sprained right thumb ligament, gave a pep talk and beat the Vikings.

“Everyone’s got each other’s backs,” Cutler said. “Injured or not injured, whoever’s next up, we expect them to go out there and play. And that was the same case for me.”

Miller has been calling the Bears “the closest group I’ve been a part of” since offseason activities, and that hasn’t changed, despite the 2-6 record.

“Hopefully we start playing better football,” he said, “and then it will only bring us closer.”

If so, the calculus on Cutler’s future could change.

While the Bears could walk away from him at the end of the season at no financial penalty, Cutler starts the second half of the Bears’ season with his fate in doubt — but, tellingly, his teammates’ support.

For the Bears’ woes this season, locker room disharmony has not been a problem.

“They fought, they hung together, you know, when lesser guys might not,” coach John Fox said. “I think we’ve got a good locker room. I think they understand what playing for one another looks like and feels like. And hopefully we can duplicate that moving forward.”

Fox was pleased with the culture of the team even before the Vikings win, but it seems that’s served as a spark.

“I think we’ve done a great job of bringing guys in that care about each other, that care about winning, that care about doing the right thing,” Cutler said. “You look across the league, you look at teams that win consistently, those organizations, they get the right type of people in there.

“At the end of the day, it’s a people business. We’ve got to work with each other. We’ve got to find a way to support each other, and that’s what it’s about.”

The best part of the Vikings win wasn’t running back’s Jordan Howard’s 202 yards from scrimmage, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said, but how Cutler inspired the team.

“I thought he played his best game of the season,” Loggains said. “And we expect the Tampa game to be the next best.”

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