After John Lynch bolted his position as the #2 analyst on NFL on FOX to become the San Francisco 49ers GM, FOX needed to find Lynch’s replacement. Not only was Charles Davis (of “Jonathan Baldwin” fame for Seahawks fans) given a promotion to work with play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt, but they’ve also brought on former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cutler isn’t 100% retired, if you carefully read the statement he sent to ESPN, but it certainly reads like he knows he’s just about done with playing football.
"I don't know if retirement is the right word; I don't feel that anyone ever really retires from the NFL," Cutler told ESPN's Jeff Darlington in a prepared statement on Friday. "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 my journey," Cutler said in his statement Friday. "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). '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."
The thought of Cutler as a commentator never even crossed my mind until the recent reports of him auditioning for Lynch’s role had surfaced. So both him and Tony Romo have quickly found themselves in prominent positions as analysts for CBS and FOX, respectively.
Burkhardt/Davis/Cutler will make their debut on the Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans preseason game. It’s possible that the lead 10 AM game for week 1 is Falcons at Bears, so that’d be a hell of a start for Cutler if that’s the first regular season assignment he receives.
Just a few Seahawks-related facts about Jay Cutler, as it appears that his days as an NFL starting quarterback are over:
- His very first NFL start was a 23-20 loss in primetime against the Seattle Seahawks. Cutler (then with the Denver Broncos) went 10-21 for 143 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, including a pick-six to Darryl Tapp. Seattle was able to beat Denver through one of the many Josh Brown game-winning field goals in the 2006 season.
- Cutler’s only start at CenturyLink Field was a 25-19 win over the Jim Mora-coached Seahawks in the infamous green jersey game. He was 21-of-27 and tossed three touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Devin Hester with less than two minutes to go. Aaron Curry recorded his first sack and David Hawthorne picked Cutler off in his first start. Jim Mora then ran over Olindo Mare with a steamroller because he missed a couple of field goals. I do not miss Jim Mora.
- His sole playoff appearance was a 35-24 romp over the 2010 Seahawks, who made the scoreline respectable with a pair of garbage time touchdowns. Cutler had four touchdowns (two passing and two rushing). As I’ve written before, the two TD passes are tied with Steve Walsh, Steve Fuller, and Jim McMahon for the most thrown by a Bears QB in a single Super Bowl-era playoff game.
Good luck to Cutler on his new gig in an ever-changing NFL broadcasting landscape.