Former Bears QB Jay Cutler retires from football, joins the media

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Jay Cutler. (Getty)

Jay Cutler is done with football and now a member of the media.

Cutler announced his plans on Friday. He will join FOX’s broadcast this season, teaming with play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt, analyst Charles Davis and sideline reporter Pam Oliver.

Cutler’s first FOX game will be a familiar one: the Bears’ third preseason contest Aug. 27 in Nashville, Tenn., where he played for Vanderbilt and now calls home.

Here is Cutler’s official statement as first released to the Sun-Times:

“I don’t know if retirement is the right word; I don’t feel that anyone ever really retires from the NFL. You are either forced to leave, or you lose the desire to do what’s required to keep going. I’m in between those situations at this point in my life.

“Words can’t express how grateful I am to everyone who helped me along the my journey. I started playing tackle football at the age of 10 and was so lucky to have supportive parents and great coaches along the way that made my path possible. If I listed each person individually, this would quickly turn into an essay, but you know who you are and I wouldn’t be in this situation without you. So thank you.

“To my parents, my sisters, my wife and kids — thank you for putting your wants and needs on the back burner while I played a game every Friday, Saturday or Sunday. You made it all possible.

“I recently read a quote that struck a cord with me at the time. It was attributed to Henry Rollins (but with the internet these days, you can never be too sure who really said it). ‘I did that, I gave everything I had to give to that. Now, if I returned to that, it would be repetition — it might be fun repetition, but it wouldn’t be meaningful repetition.’ Thank you to everyone along the way. You made my dream come true.”

Acquired in a blockbuster deal with the Denver Broncos in 2009, Cutler went 52-52 as the Bears’ starting quarterback in eight seasons, including the playoffs.

Cutler, who played 11 seasons in the NFL, left the Bears as the franchise leader in a number of categories, including passing yards (23,443) and touchdown passes (154).

Early in his Bears career, Cutler was known to have a mercurial relationship with the local media. But that changed in recent years. His interviews became insightful and engaging. He also displayed a sense of humor.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jay to the FOX Sports family,” FOX president of production and executive producer John Entz said in a statement. “We’re very excited about the potential he brings to the booth and are looking forward to hearing his analysis during what is sure to be another great season of the NFL on FOX.”

Cutler, the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft, finishes his career with 32,467 passing yards and 208 touchdowns.

“This is an exciting new chapter for me in football,” Cutler said in a statement released by FOX. “I love the game so much and look forward to having a lot of fun on the road this year for FOX Sports.”

The Bears released a statement from chairman George McCaskey, who has long considered himself a fan of Cutler on and off the field.

“Jay epitomized what it was to be a Chicago Bear,” McCaskey said. “His ability, toughness and intelligence were on daily display at Halas Hall and Soldier Field. He had an extraordinary impact off the field, doing things for people — especially kids — without expecting or wanting any recognition.

“As we congratulate Jay on the end of his playing career, we also want to express our support for his transition into the next phase of his professional football career as a member of the FOX broadcast team. We’re excited for the fans to get to know the Jay Cutler we knew inside the walls of Halas Hall.”

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