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updated: 9/2/2014 4:59 AM

Imrem: Time for Bears' Cutler to show he's all grown up

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  • Is quarterback Jay Cutler finally ready to lead to Bears to a long playoff run this season?

      Is quarterback Jay Cutler finally ready to lead to Bears to a long playoff run this season?
    Associated Press

 
 

In case Bears fans haven't noticed, Jay Cutler isn't a kid anymore.

Few athletes are when they reach 31 years of age.

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It's sort of like the McDonald's commercial in which a youngster blackens a mustache on his face.

"They're only little for a little while," is the ad's theme to sell Happy Meals.

Cutler isn't little, but he sure has been a young quarterback for a while now. He remained a kid, a project, a distinct possibility for much too long.

Time sure does fly when an NFL quarterback is trying to establish himself.

It seems like yesterday that the Broncos made Cutler a first-round draft choice in 2006. It seems like 15 minutes ago that the Bears traded for him in 2009.

So, all these years later, is Cutler himself getting as impatient as Bears fans are for him to become all that he's supposed to be? Does he feel an urgency to grow up as a quarterback? Is he ever fearful that he'll never earn the respect every athlete wants?

In one tidy package the question is, does Cutler feel his career slipping away?

If the answer is yes, Cutler hides his anxiety well. He seems more comfortable than at any time during his career.

And why not? Cutler has the right head coach in Marc Trestman, a talented supporting cast and a franchise quarterback's contract.

Cutler has everything but an excuse not to perform at a high level.

Monday morning, Bears practice had just ended and Jay Cutler was on the field talking to a club official.

The quarterback's arms were casually folded across his chest. His helmet sat fashionably on top of his head. He looked like a man in command of his world, his team and himself.

Cutler looked at peace, but how many times have we believed that to be the case as a new NFL season was about to begin, as 2014's will Sunday?

But this time Cutler has the security of a seven-year, $126.7 million contract with $54 million guaranteed over the first three years.

Last season Cutler auditioned for Trestman, the offense guru/quarterback whisperer, and got the gig.

Trestman and general manager Phil Emery must believe that the Bears not only can win a Super Bowl with Cutler but win a Super Bowl because of him.

All quarterback controversies are tabled for now. Trestman's media session Monday began, proceeded and ended without a single question being asked about the position.

Trestman didn't even have to remind everybody that "Jay is our quarterback." It goes without saying these days.

Odd in a way, isn't it? All this stability at the position? All this faith in Cutler?

Nobody bothered to ask Trestman about Cutler's history of injury, history of grumpiness or history of all that ability and so little to show for it to this point.

Remember, we're talking about a quarterback who has won one playoff game during his eight NFL seasons despite all that promise.

Ah, that promise: that 6-foot-3, 220-pound body that should be durable, that mobility that should translate into escapablity and perhaps most of all that arm strength.

Cutler still has all those physical attributes but now also is married with children and at the same time married to the Bears.

At the end of his Labor Day labors, Cutler walked out of the Bears' locker room with the hood of his hoodie over his head like a celebrity ducking the paparazzi.

Not much will depend on him when he returns … other than his teammates' championship aspirations.

The Bears can only hope that Jay Cutler is all grown up and plays like it this season.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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