Jay Cutler (American football)
Cutler warming up before a game in 2009.
No. 6 Chicago Bears
|Date of birth:April 29, 1983|
|Place of birth: Columbus, Georgia|
|High school: Lincoln City (IN) Heritage Hills|
|NFL Draft: 2006 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11|
|Debuted in 2006 for the Denver Broncos|
|Roster status: Active|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2012
Jay Christopher Cutler (born April 29, 1983) is an American football quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Vanderbilt University. Cutler began his professional football career with the Denver Broncos, who selected him with the eleventh overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft. He spent three seasons with the Broncos and was selected to the Pro Bowl. He was traded to the Bears in 2009.
Jay Cutler was born in Georgia, and grew up in Santa Claus, Indiana. Cutler attended Heritage Hills High School in Lincoln City, Indiana. He started three years at quarterback, amassing a combined 26–1 record in his junior and senior years, including a perfect 15–0 during his senior year. Cutler and his team outscored opponents 746–85, including a 90–0 shutout at Pike Central. During his senior year, Cutler connected on 122-of-202 passes (60.4%) for 2,252 yards with 31 touchdowns, while rushing 65 times for 493 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also started at safety for three years, intercepting nine passes as a senior, 12th overall in the state. His team's perfect record during his senior year included the school's first 3A state championship, where Heritage Hills beat Zionsville in overtime, 27–24. The most notable play of the game occurred when Cutler lateraled the ball to the halfback, Cole Seifrig, who then passed it to Cutler who ran it into the end zone.
Cutler was named a first-team All-State selection by the Associated Press as a senior. In addition to playing football in high school, he was a first-team All-State selection in basketball and garnered honorable mention All-State accolades as a shortstop in baseball.
Cutler attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He started all 45 career games that he played for the Vanderbilt Commodores football team, the most starts by a quarterback in school history. He did not miss a game due to injury. The Commodores were 11–35 during his tenure, including going 5–27 versus the SEC. In 2002, Cutler set the school record for touchdowns and rushing yards by a freshman and rushed for more yards than any other Southeastern Conference quarterback that year. The Associated Press honored him with a first-team freshman All-SEC selection. In 2004, as a junior, Cutler completed 61.0 percent of his passes, setting a school record, while throwing for 1,844 yards with 10 touchdowns and a career-low five interceptions.
The 2005 season, Cutler's final year of play at Vanderbilt, was his most successful. As an 11-game starter, he completed 273-of-462 passes (59.1%) for 3,073 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions, as he became the first Commodore to win the SEC Offensive Player of the Year (coaches and media) since 1967. With his senior-season performance, Cutler became the second Commodore to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season, while his 273 completions and 21 touchdowns ranked second on the school’s single-season list. He led the Commodores to victories over Wake Forest, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Richmond and Tennessee. The Commodores also scored the second most points ever (42) laid upon the Florida Gators at their current home field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Vanderbilt nearly upset the 13th-ranked Gators before falling 49–42 in the second overtime after a controversial excessive celebration call prevented the Commodores from going for 2 at the end of regulation. Reflecting on Cutler's college career, former Denver Broncos safety John Lynch said, "If this guy can take a bunch of future doctors and lawyers and have them competing against the Florida Gators, this guy is a stud."
The Commodores ended their season, and Cutler's Vanderbilt career, at Tennessee against the Tennessee Volunteers with a 28–24 win. The victory was Vanderbilt's first over the Volunteers since 1982, the year before Cutler was born. The win also marked Vanderbilt's first victory over Tennessee on the Volunteers' home field in Knoxville since 1975. Cutler passed for three touchdowns and 315 yards during the game, becoming the first quarterback in school history to record four consecutive 300-yard passing performances. Cutler's final play in college was the game-winning (and streak-ending) touchdown pass to teammate Earl Bennett against Tennessee. A finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (nation’s top senior quarterback), Cutler was a first-team All-SEC pick by the league’s coaches and led the conference with a school-record 3,288 yards of total offense.
While at Vanderbilt, Cutler was a three-year captain and four-year starter, setting school career records for total offense (9,953 yds.), touchdown passes (59), passing yards (8,697), pass completions (710), pass attempts (1,242) and combined touchdowns (76).
Awards and honors
- The Sporting News third-team freshman All-American (2002)
- Associated Press first-team freshman All-SEC (2002)
- First-team All-SEC (2005)
- SEC Offensive Player of the Year (2005)
- Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist (2005)
Vanderbilt University school career records:
- Total offense: 9,953
- Touchdown passes: 59
- Passing yards: 8,697
- Pass completions: 710
- Pass attempts: 1,242
- Combined touchdowns: 76
|College statistics (Vanderbilt)|
2006 NFL Draft
|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP||Wonderlic|
|6 ft 3¼ in||226 lb||4.77 s||1.61 s||2.79 s||4.31 s||7.12 s||23 reps||26|
|All values from the NFL Combine|
Cutler was expected to be a high draft pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, and was ranked by many experts as the third-best quarterback prospect, after Matt Leinart of USC and Vince Young of Texas. Some mock drafts as recent as April 1, 2006, had projected him as being selected ahead of Leinart, but behind Young. Still, other experts such as ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Ron Jaworski tabbed him as the best quarterback available in the draft. Many scouts believed he had better arm strength than Young and Leinart, and compared him to Brett Favre for his arm, play style and gunslinger attitude. At the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine, Cutler completed 23 repetitions of a 225-pound bench press (more than some linemen) and ran a 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds.
After attracting interest from the Oakland Raiders, the Detroit Lions, the Arizona Cardinals and the Baltimore Ravens, Cutler was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 11th pick in the draft, after the Broncos acquired the pick from the St. Louis Rams by trading their 15th and 68th overall picks. Many believed Cutler was chosen by the Broncos due to the lackluster performance in the previous season's AFC Championship Game by then-starting quarterback, Jake Plummer. After the pick by Denver, Cutler said, "We had no warning. I think I knew about 15 seconds before everyone else did." Cutler, as predicted by most, became the third quarterback chosen, after Young (3rd overall) and Leinart (10th). He is the third first-round pick to come from Vanderbilt, preceded by Will Wolford and Bill Wade. On July 27, 2006, Cutler agreed to terms on a six-year $48 million contract, which included $11 million in bonuses.
After a strong training camp in 2006, Cutler was promoted from third to second on the Broncos' quarterback depth chart ahead of Bradlee Van Pelt. He passed for more yards than any other rookie in the preseason.
On November 27, Shanahan officially announced that Cutler would replace Jake Plummer as starting quarterback because, as Shanahan said, "I think he gives us the best chance to win now." This announcement capped weeks of speculation and rumors about Cutler's impending promotion to a starting role.
Cutler's regular-season debut was a 23–20 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks on December 3. Cutler completed 10 of 21 passes for 143 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. His first career NFL touchdown pass was to tight end Stephen Alexander in the second quarter of the game. His other touchdown pass occurred in the fourth quarter on a memorable 71-yard TD pass play to Brandon Marshall, also a rookie, which tied the game 20–20. The play was one of the longest TD passes for a debut in NFL history and was also the second-longest pass play between two rookies in Broncos history.
On December 10, in a road loss against the San Diego Chargers, Cutler connected with tight end Tony Scheffler for two touchdowns in a span of 48 seconds, which tied for the fastest in league history that two rookies produced a pair of scoring passes.
Cutler's first win came in his third start on December 17, which was a 37–20 road victory over the Arizona Cardinals. He finished the game 21-of-31 with 261 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and a QB rating of 101.7. It was the highest single-game rating for a Broncos rookie QB since John Elway posted a 117.4 rating against the Cleveland Browns on December 4, 1983. One of Cutler's passing touchdowns in the game against Arizona was a 54-yard throw to Javon Walker on the Broncos' third play of the game. The throw traveled 65 yards in the air. Shanahan said to the media, "You saw what he could do today. It doesn't take a genius out there to figure out this guy is very composed, can make all the throws and plays with a lot of confidence."
Cutler then led the Broncos to a Christmas Eve win over the Cincinnati Bengals, 24–23, in his fourth start on the season. He went 12-of-23 with 179 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also directed the Broncos on a 99-yard drive in the third quarter that culminated on a Mike Bell two-yard touchdown run.
As a result of the two passing touchdowns in the game against the Bengals, Cutler became the first rookie QB in NFL history (second player overall, joining the Washington Redskins' Mark Rypien in 1988) to throw for at least two touchdowns in each of his first four games played. He also became the second rookie in league history (fifth player overall) to throw at least two touchdown passes in each of his first four starts. The only other rookie to accomplish the feat was Dan Marino in his 1983 rookie season.
The Broncos' quest to clinch a playoff berth came up short in the final game of the season, when they fell at home 26–23 in overtime to the San Francisco 49ers. The loss dropped the Broncos to a 9–7 overall record and 4–4 at home. Despite sustaining a concussion in the first half, Cutler finished 21 of 32 with 230 yards and a touchdown, and led Denver on a game-tying touchdown drive in the closing minutes of regulation to force overtime.
In five games played on the season, Cutler finished with a record of 2–3, and went 81-of-137 for 1,001 yards, 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, earning a passer rating of 88.5. He posted the second-highest TD percentage (6.6) and third-highest TD-to-INT ratio (1.8) among NFL rookies since 1970 with at least 125 passing attempts.
The 2007 NFL season marked Cutler's first full season as the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. In the first game of the season against the Buffalo Bills, Cutler led Denver to a comeback win on a 12-play, 42-yard drive culminating in a Jason Elam 42-yard field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter. Cutler's pass attempts (39), completions (23) and yards (304) for the game were career-highs at the time. He led Denver to their second straight comeback win the next week in the home opener against the Oakland Raiders. Late in regulation, Cutler moved the team 78 yards in 15 plays for the game-tying field goal with 2:18 remaining. The game went into overtime, where he engineered a 52-yard drive that led to another game-winning field goal by Elam. Cutler had a touchdown pass during the game, making him the first Broncos passer to begin his Broncos career with at least one touchdown pass in his first seven starts. Cutler's streak extended to nine games until a 41–3 home loss to the San Diego Chargers in the fifth game of the season. He recorded his first career rushing touchdown the previous week against the Indianapolis Colts at Indianapolis in the third quarter.
After the bye week in Week 6, the Broncos came out (after going 2–3 to start the season, with both wins coming on last-second Jason Elam field goals) and beat the 4–1 Pittsburgh Steelers, 31–28 (again winning on a last-second Elam field goal). Cutler had a QB rating of 106.7 during the game, as he completed 22-of-29 passes (career-high 75.9%) for 248 yards and a personal-best three touchdowns. He also rushed for a career-high 41 yards and a career-long run of 31 yards. Cutler was named NBC Sunday Night Football's Co-Horse Trailer Player of the Game (joining Elam). His career-opening streak of 11 games with at least one interception came to an end the next week, when the Broncos were able to take the 6–1 Green Bay Packers to overtime on a game-tying, 89-yard drive led by Cutler with 2:27 remaining (Elam kicked the tying field goal). However, Denver lost in overtime, 19–13, on Green Bay's first play from scrimmage. Cutler was knocked out early in the next game against the Detroit Lions with a leg injury, handing over the reins to backup Patrick Ramsey. The Broncos lost that game 44–7, although, with Cutler back for the next game, Denver was able to rebound for a 27–11 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
The next week, in a Monday Night Football home game against the Tennessee Titans, Cutler faced fellow 2006 NFL Draft class quarterback Vince Young for the first ever time in the regular season. The Broncos won the game, 34–20. Cutler posted a 137.0 passer rating (the second best mark for his career), going 16-of-21 for 200 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Both of his touchdowns occurred on passing plays of over 40 yards, which made Cutler the first Broncos quarterback since John Elway in 1995 to throw for at least two touchdowns of more than 40 yards in one game. Denver set a franchise record with four touchdowns of longer than 40 yards in the win over the Titans. The victory improved the Broncos record to 5–5, moving them into a first place tie with the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West.
The Broncos lost the next two games (thus, falling out of the first place tie with San Diego in the AFC West), but then went on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs at home in a blowout, 41–7. In the game, Cutler passed for four touchdowns and recorded a then career-best quarterback rating of 141.0.
Denver finished the regular season with a 7–9 record, missing the playoffs for a second straight year. Cutler started all 16 games in the season, completing 297-of-467 passes (63.6%) for 3,497 yards, 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He was the NFL’s 12th-ranked passer (88.1) and also had the tenth-most passing yards (3,497). Furthermore, Cutler was the league’s ninth-best third-down passer, with a 92.1 passer rating (73-of-125 for 901 yards, 8 TD and 3 INT). His 3,497 passing yards ranked as the seventh-best single-season performance in team history. He also had the third-best single-season completion percentage (63.6) in team history. Also, like his predecessor, Plummer, Cutler showed the ability to make big plays outside of the pocket, and to run when needed, rushing 44 times for 205 yards (about 4.7 yards per carry) and a touchdown on the season.
In late 2007, various experts were interviewed, stating that they believe Cutler to be the young quarterback most likely to reach the elite status along the lines of Eli and Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady.
Cutler started the season facing the Oakland Raiders in Oakland on Monday Night Football. He completed 16-of-24 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns, en route to a 41–14 Broncos victory. His performance yielded the second-highest passer rating (137.5) in the league after the first week of the season. The Broncos netted 441 total yards while committing no turnovers in the season-opening win. The next week, Cutler and the Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers in Denver, 39–38. Cutler went 36-of-50, with 350 yards passing and four touchdowns. His four touchdown throws in the game matched his career high for touchdown passes in a single game. One of those throws came with 24 seconds left in the game on 4th and 4 from San Diego's four-yard-line. He threw the touchdown to Eddie Royal, who then caught a pass from Cutler on a two-point conversion, which helped seal a one-point win for Denver. The game was not without controversy, though. Cutler appeared to fumble the ball on the play just previous to the final touchdown. The ball was recovered by the Chargers, but was awarded back to the Broncos due to an inadvertent whistle by Referee Ed Hochuli. Cutler followed his performance against the Chargers with another multi-touchdown game against the New Orleans Saints, as part of a 34–32 home victory. He went 21-of-34, with 264 yards passing and two touchdowns. Cutler and the Broncos suffered their first defeat of the season in the next game—a 33–19 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Cutler had his first multi-interception game of the season, as he was picked off twice. However, his overall performance in the month of September earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors for the first time in his career. He finished the month of September first in the AFC in completions (102), passing yards (1,275) and attempts (157), second in passing yards per attempt (8.12), third in passing touchdowns (9), third in quarterback rating (98.6), and fifth in completion percentage (65.0%). The Broncos had a 3–1 record in September and were in first place in the AFC West.
Cutler and the Broncos began the month of October with a home win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 16–13. It was the second straight game the Broncos failed to score at least 20 points on offense after scoring more than 30 points in the first three games of the season. Cutler went 23-of-34 with 227 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The win would prove to be the only victory for Cutler and the Broncos in October, as they lost three straight games afterwards. The first of the three consecutive losses came at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, as the Broncos went down, 24–17. Cutler passed for under 200 yards for the first time of the season, as he went 21-of-37 with 192 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The next loss came in a Monday Night Football road matchup against the New England Patriots, and New England blew out Denver, 41–7. Cutler injured his index finger on his throwing hand (right hand) on the first offensive play of the game. He came out for one series and passed for a season-low 168 yards for the entire game. The Broncos next had a bye week, then suffered their third straight defeat in October, as they lost at home to the Miami Dolphins, 26–17. Cutler went 24-of-46 for 307 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The three interceptions were a season-high for one game.
Following the three consecutive losses in October, Cutler and the Broncos began the month of November with a road win over the Cleveland Browns in comeback fashion. The Broncos were at one point down, 23–10, in the second half of the game, but came back on the arm of Cutler, as he passed for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, leading to a 34–30 win. On Cutler's first fourth-quarter touchdown, he hooked up with wide receiver Eddie Royal on a 93-yard pass play. It was the longest pass play of Cutler's career and the fourth-longest touchdown in Broncos history. Cutler finished the game going 24-of-42 with 447 yards (career high), three touchdowns and one interception. He received AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career for his game against the Browns. He followed up his fourth quarter comeback performance from that game with another one in the Broncos next game, which was a road matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. Cutler went 19-of-27 for 216 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, as he led Denver on another fourth quarter game-winning drive. With five and a half minutes left in the game, and the Broncos down, 20–17, Cutler threw a touchdown pass to Daniel Graham on a third-and-goal. The touchdown gave the Broncos a 24–20 lead, which proved to be the final score. The next week, the Broncos suffered their third consecutive home loss by going down to the Oakland Raiders, 31–10. Cutler failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 11 games, as he went 16-of-37 with 204 yards and an interception. He did, however, tie Broncos quarterback John Elway for the fastest quarterback in team history to reach 3,000 yards passing for one season. Cutler garnered 3,036 passing yards through the first 11 games of the season. He and the Broncos won the next game, 34–17, on the road against the New York Jets in a rainy and windy affair. The win was the Broncos' third consecutive road victory. Cutler went 27-of-43 with 357 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Cutler and the Broncos won their first game in December, and ended their three-game home losing streak, by defeating the Chiefs in Denver, 24–17. Cutler went 32-of-40 with 286 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His 80% completion percentage was his single-game high of the season. Cutler also engineered his fourth game-winning drive of the season (the seventh overall of his career) after leading the Broncos on a 95-yard drive, culminated by a go-ahead touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall in the fourth quarter. In the next game of the season, the Broncos' three-game road winning streak was snapped, as they fell to the Carolina Panthers, 30–20. Cutler went 21-of-33 with 172 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He failed to pass for over 200 yards in a game for the third time during the season. Cutler and the Broncos also lost the next game, this time at home, to Buffalo, 30–23. Cutler went 25-of-45 with 359 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Cutler rushed for two touchdowns during the game. He also broke single-season franchise records held by former Bronco quarterbacks John Elway and Jake Plummer. Cutler broke Elway's record for completions (349) and Plummer's record for passing yards (4,089). Cutler and the Broncos closed out the 2008 regular season by losing their third consecutive game, as they fell to the San Diego Chargers, 52–21, with the AFC West title on the line. The loss kept the Broncos out of the playoffs for the third straight season. Cutler went 33-of-49 with 316 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the game.
Cutler finished the season with career-highs in passing completions (384), passing attempts (616), passing yards (4,526), passing touchdowns (25), interceptions (18), rushing attempts (57) and rushing touchdowns (2). His passing yards, completions and attempts were all single-season franchise records for the Broncos. He also had the most 300-yard passing games (8) in team history. For the season, Cutler ranked third in the NFL in passing completions (first in the AFC), second in passing attempts (first in the AFC), third in passing yards (first in the AFC) and seventh in passing touchdowns (third in the AFC). Cutler was also selected as the FedEx Air Player of the Week for his performances during Week 10, 13 and 14 of the season. Cutler finished third in fan voting for AFC quarterbacks in the 2009 Pro Bowl. Three quarterbacks are chosen to play in the game. Fan voting accounts for one-third of the total voting (players and coaches account for the other two-thirds). He was officially picked to play in his first Pro Bowl when selections were announced on December 16, 2008. Cutler was chosen as a reserve.
In Hawaii before the Pro Bowl, Cutler became a victim to a prank organized by fellow Pro Bowlers, Peyton Manning, Nick Mangold, and Kris Dielman. He was tossed into a pool, and even though Manning remembered to swipe away his cell phone, Cutler's blood sugar monitor was ruined. A replacement one was found at a drugstore, and Cutler played without incident.
After the 2008 season, Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan was fired and replaced by Josh McDaniels, previously the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. On February 28, ESPN reported that the Broncos considered trading Cutler in a three-way trade with the New England Patriots and either the Detroit Lions or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The deal would have sent Cutler to Detroit or Tampa Bay while New England's quarterback Matt Cassel would join the Broncos and be reunited with his former coach, McDaniels. The Broncos said that they did not initiate the trade talks, but instead listened to offers. Cutler was reportedly upset about the trade possibility. This prompted McDaniels to make a statement that Cutler would definitely not be traded by the Broncos. Cutler believed McDaniels misled him about the trade talks and said he believed he would be traded before April's NFL Draft.
On March 15, he listed his Colorado home for sale; later that day Cutler confirmed that he had officially asked the Broncos to trade him. On March 31, 2009, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen announced that the team would accommodate his request and attempt to trade Cutler.
On April 2, Cutler was traded to the Chicago Bears along with a fifth-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. In return, the Broncos received quarterback Kyle Orton, the Bears' first- and third-round selections in 2009, and the Bears' first-round pick in 2010.
On October 20, Cutler and the Bears came to terms on a two-year contract extension worth $30 million. Cutler's contract will run through 2013.
Cutler was the subject of most of the praise and criticism during the Chicago Bears' mercurial season. After starting 3–1, the Bears lost eight of the next ten games (during which time he had an INT-TD ratio of 11:20 and led the NFL in turnovers). During Week 10, the Bears traveled to San Francisco where Cutler threw a career-high 5 interceptions with zero touchdowns. Five weeks later, they traveled to Baltimore where Cutler was 10-of-27, throwing for only 94 yards. Even though he threw for two touchdowns, he had four interceptions leaving him with a passer rating of 7.9. In the last two games of the season, however, the Bears defeated division rivals Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. Cutler finished the season with 27 TD, 26 INT, 3,666 yards passing, and a passer rating of 76.8. His 26 interceptions led the league.
Following the 2009 season, the Bears hired a new offensive coordinator in Mike Martz. In spending the 2009 season as a studio analyst, Martz was a noted critic of Cutler, but both he and Cutler professed excitement for working together. Martz had become famous as offensive coordinator and head coach of the St. Louis Rams, where his high-powered offense was known as "The Greatest Show on Turf."
Cutler led the Bears to a 3–0 start, throwing six touchdowns and only two interceptions. However, in week 4 Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half against the New York Giants, and sustained a concussion. He would miss the Week 5 game against the Carolina Panthers. When he returned, the Bears lost two home games to the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins, leaving the Bears at 4–3 at their bye week.
Following the bye week, the Bears offensive line play improved and Martz showed more commitment to the running game. The Bears won seven of the remaining nine games to finish 11–5, and secured the NFC North Division title and a first-round bye. Cutler finished the season with 3,274 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and 232 rushing yards.
Cutler made his playoff debut against the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round of the 2010 NFC playoffs. He finished with 274 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, 43 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns in the Bears 35–24 win, making him the second quarterback in NFL history since Otto Graham in 1954 and 1955 to score two touchdown passes and two touchdown runs in a playoff game.
In the NFC Championship Game, Cutler completed 6-of-14 passes for 80 yards and an interception. After the Bears' first offensive series of the third quarter, Cutler sat out the remainder of the game with a knee injury. The Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers 21–14. The Bears did not make an immediate announcement about Cutler's condition, allowing speculation to grow. In possibly the NFL’s first player-on-player social media attack, Cutler was being criticized for not returning within seconds after leaving the game instead of waiting for explanations in postgame media sessions by Maurice Jones-Drew, Darnell Dockett, Deion Sanders, and Mark Schlereth. Bears coach Lovie Smith later stated that the choice was not Cutler's decision. Smith made the decision to bench Cutler after consulting the medical and training staff. An MRI revealed the following day that he had sprained his MCL. Troy Aikman, a sportscaster on Fox and a Hall of Fame quarterback, believes the widespread reaction to Cutler was indicative of the attitude he has shown in his career. Despite this criticism, the Bears and other players defended Cutler, including Packers Aaron Rodgers, LeRoy Bell, and B. J. Raji, with Rodgers calling it "disrespectful", Bell calling Cutler's critics "stupid", and Raji calling the criticism "pretty wrong and a lot times it has a lot to do with jealousy."
Under Cutler in 2011, the Bears went 7–3, and were on the verge of a playoff berth. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz was commonly criticized for aggressive play-calling in 2011, and the calls for a pass-happy offense led to Cutler getting repeatedly sacked, including an incident in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints, in which Cutler was sacked 6 times, and was also kicked in the throat. The issue caused Cutler to say to Martz, "Tell him I said fuck him!" in a game against the Minnesota Vikings. On November 20, 2011 during a game against the San Diego Chargers Cutler broke the thumb on his throwing hand while attempting to tackle Antoine Cason after an interception, though Cutler still played on the Bears' final drive, completing two passes for 24 yards. Under Caleb Hanie, the Bears lost five-straight gaems and had to resort to Josh McCown for the final two games against the Packers and Vikings, with the Bears being out of the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
The Bears hired former Broncos coach Jeremy Bates to be the new quarterbacks coach, reuniting him with Cutler. Cutler was eventually reunited with another former Bronco in wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was traded to the Bears from the Miami Dolphins. According to new offensive coordinator and former Bears O-line coach Mike Tice, Cutler will be able to call audibles at the line of scrimmage, a factor that wasn't available when Martz was the offensive coordinator.
In the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, Cutler started the game on a bitter note when his pass to Matt Forte was intercepted by Jerrell Freeman and taken for a touchdown. He was only able to complete 3 of 10 passes for 21 yards, with a passer rating of 4.9. In the second quarter, Cutler improved his performance by completing 15 of 17 for 228 yards, a touchdown to Marshall, and a passer rating of 80.5. He later finished the game with 21 of 35 passes completed for 333 yards, two touchdowns and a 98.9 passer rating, as the Bears would then win 41-21. A week later, Cutler was sacked seven times by the Green Bay Packers defense, and also threw four interceptions while completing only 11 of 27 passes for 126 yards with one touchdown and a 28.2 passer rating. His lone touchdown was a 21-yard pass to Kellen Davis. After getting sacked by Clay Matthews, Cutler expressed his frustration for the offensive line's performance by yelling at the line and bumping left tackle J'Marcus Webb. Two weeks later against the Dallas Cowboys, Cutler greatly improved his performance, completing 18 of 24 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Cutler also had no interceptions and a 140.1 passer rating, the third highest of his career, as the Bears would go on to defeat Dallas 34-18. The win increased Cutler's record when he has a quarterback rating of over 100 to 24-0. In Week 10 against the Houston Texans, Cutler was lost for the game to a concussion, and was replaced by Jason Campbell. Cutler became the third quarterback in the week to be sidelined with a concussion, along with Michael Vick and Alex Smith. Cutler was ruled out of the San Francisco 49ers game on November 16. After practicing on November 23, Cutler was cleared to play in Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings a day later. The following week against the Seattle Seahawks, Cutler completed 17 of 23 passes for 233 yards with two touchdown passes and a 119.6 passer rating, but the Seahawks defeated the Bears 23-17, marking the first time in Cutler's career that he lost when having a passer rating over 100. Cutler finished the season leading the league in fourth-quarter passer rating with 114.7. In his career with the Bears, Cutler is the all-time team leader in passer rating with 81.9 and completions with 1,034. Cutler also ranked second in yards and touchdowns with 12,292 and 82, respectively.
Awards and honors
- Pro Bowl selection (2008)
- AFC Offensive Player of the Month (September 2008)
- AFC Offensive Player of the Week – Week 10 (2008)
- NFC Offensive Player of the Week – Week 16 (2009)
- FedEx Air Player of the Week – Week 16 (2009)
- Passing yards: 4,526
- Pass completions: 384
- Pass attempts: 616
- 300-yard passing games: 7
Cutler began dating reality TV star Kristin Cavallari in the fall of 2010 and became engaged to her in April 2011. However, the couple split in July 2011 when Cutler called off the engagement. In November 2011, Cavallari confirmed reports that the couple was back together, tweeting, "This time it's official..Jay and I are engaged again". In January 2012, the couple announced that Cavallari was pregnant. The couple's first child, son Camden Jack Cutler, was born on August 8, 2012. Despite the birth coming the day before the Bears played their preseason opener against the Denver Broncos, Cutler dressed for the game, though he did not play. Cutler and Cavallari married on June 7, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.
During the 2007 offseason, Cutler started the Jay Cutler Foundation, which partnered with Mile High United Way’s Youth Success Initiative to help at-risk youth overcome obstacles and graduate from high school.
Cutler works with Dedicated to Diabetes, which is a Denver-based organization that aims to improve public knowledge about diabetes.
For the 2009 season, Cutler teamed up with Eli Lilly and Company in a campaign called "Touchdowns For Diabetes". For every touchdown pass Cutler threw during the 2009 season, Lilly sent a child to diabetes camp by donating $1,000 to the ADA’s “Camp Scholarship” fund—roughly the cost of providing tuition for one child to attend a week of diabetes camp. For every pass Cutler completed in 2009, Lilly donated $100 to the ADA Camp Scholarship fund to allow even more kids the chance to attend camp the following summer.
In 2012, Cutler visited Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, to talk about diabetes awareness.
In the media
An animated representation of Cutler briefly appeared in the South Park episode, "Guitar Queer-o." The show is set in Colorado, and the characters are avid Broncos fans. Two characters, Stan and Kyle, meet Cutler and say, "Nice to meet you. I mean, you kinda suck, but my dad says you might be good some day." Cutler himself later responded to the episode, saying, "It was cool. I thought it was funny. They can make fun of me if they want to."
Cutler, along with former Broncos tight end Tony Scheffler and former Broncos backup quarterback Preston Parsons, took part in an episode of Oprah's Big Give filmed in Denver in 2007. The episode aired on ABC on March 9, 2008.
In 2011, after Cutler was lost for the season after he broke his thumb, and the Bears lost five straight, Chicago recording artist, Magic 1, recorded Cutty Come Back, a parody of the hit song Baby Come Back.
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