If former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's playing career is over -- and it certainly appears that way -- he isn't going far from the game.
Cutler will start a new career as a FOX Sports color analyst, joining the team of Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis, it was announced Friday.
Cutler, appearing Friday afternoon on the Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000-AM, was asked if his decision to retire was permanent.
"Yeah, yeah, I think so. Yeah, I mean yeah, I think so," Cutler said in a less-than-convincing reply before adding more definitively: "Yeah it is. I don't really see anything else happening. I'm happy with where I am in my life and really the future going forward, so yeah, we can go ahead and stamp that. It's permanent."
Last year, in his final season and his eighth with the Bears, Cutler was limited to five games because of a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder that occurred on the final play of the Bears' 22-16 loss to the New York Giants on Nov. 20. That injury landed him on injured reserve, causing him to miss the final six games of the season. He concluded his Bears career with a 51-51 career record as a starter.
Cutler was released by the Bears on March 9. Although he had discussions with the Houston Texans and New York Jets, neither of those arrangements materialized. He still struggled, he said, with his decision to step away from the game.
"It wasn't easy," said Cutler, who turned 34 last week. "It's just one of those things that you know when you know. I just felt like the time was right and the situations I was being presented with steered me in this direction."
Cutler is scheduled to make his FOX debut Aug. 27 in the Bears' third preseason game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, where he recently relocated from the Chicago area with his wife, Kristin Cavallari, and their three young sons.
"It was hard," Cutler said of leaving Chicago. "All of our kids were born here, I met Kristin here. A lot of memories."
He said he knows he will have some regrets down the line about not playing.
"That's going to happen. Come the middle of August, there's going to be that itch to play," Cutler said. "There's going to be part of me that feels I can still be competitive -- I know that I still can do it. But that's not how the cards played out."
Cutler originally had a standoffish relationship with media in Chicago, but in the past several years has been much more engaging and often flashed a quick wit and sense of humor during interviews.
That humorous side should play well at FOX, as it did during Friday's radio appearance, as Cutler described a conversation with his wife.
"Kris was asking me, 'What are you going to do now?' " Cutler said. "I said, 'I'm just gonna hang around the house.' She said, 'That's not gonna work for anybody.' "
Cutler said he has been acting as a de facto nanny recently with Cavallari gone for a couple days.
"How are the kids?" he was asked.
"Alive," he said, laughing.
In 2015, Cutler enjoyed the best statistical season of his 11-year career. He posted a personal-best 92.3 passer rating while throwing 21 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions. But last year's 78.1 passer rating was the second lowest of his career after his first season with the Bears, when he threw 27 TD passes and a league-high 26 interceptions.
Cutler holds most of the Bears' career passing records, including 154 TD passes and 23,443 yards, but he also was intercepted 109 times.
He played for six different offensive coordinators with the Bears: Ron Turner (2009), Mike Martz (2010-11), Mike Tice (2012), Aaron Kromer (2013-14), Adam Gase (2015) and Dowell Loggains (2016).
Cutler played in just two postseason games for the Bears, both after the 2010 season when he led a divisional-round 35-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks with 274 yards, 2 TD passes, no interceptions and a 111.3 passer rating. The next week, in the NFC Championship Game, Cutler suffered a sprained knee late in the first half and did not play after that in a 21-14 Bears loss.
Cutler came to the Bears before the 2009 season in a trade with the Denver Broncos, where he played his first three years and was a first-round draft pick (11th overall) out of Vanderbilt. The Bears traded quarterback Kyle Orton, two first-round draft picks and a third-rounder to get Cutler and a fifth-round draft choice, which they used on wide receiver Johnny Knox.
His best chance to continue playing would be a serious injury to a starting quarterback, although it isn't clear if Cutler wants to make a comeback and whether he has an out clause in his deal with Fox. It also remains to be seen if his shoulder has healed sufficiently from his January surgery, although he says he could throw "if I had to."
In addition to passing yards and touchdowns, Cutler ranks first on the Bears' all-time list in career passer rating (85.2), completions (2,020), attempts (3,271), completion percentage (61.8), passing yards per game (229.8) and 300-yard passing games (16).
Earlier Friday, Cutler told ESPN's Jeff Darlington in a statement that he was retiring.
That statement said, "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 my journey," Cutler said. "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 (actor, writer, musician) 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."