Cutler poised with media after demotion

Once again, under difficult circumstances, demoted Bears quarterback Jay Cutler showed the poise and professionalism at the podium that have frequently been missing on the field.

“Shocked, I think at first — and then disappointed,” Cutler said of his reaction to coach Marc Trestman's decision to sit him in favor of Jimmy Clausen. “I didn't see it coming. But I think anytime you lose a lot of games and you don't play as well as you'd hoped, there's a chance that that could happen.”

It's never happened to Cutler before — at any level — at least as far as he could recall. And despite Cutler's uneven play — a career-best 28 TD passes but league-worst 18 interceptions and 24 turnovers — it was unexpected, considering his $126.7 million, seven-year contract. Cutler's deal counted $22.5 million against the Bears' salary cap this year, the highest number in the NFL.

Cutler and the Bears' offensive brain trust, Trestman and coordinator Aaron Kromer, seemed to have a recurring disconnect throughout a shockingly bad, 5-9 season. And Kromer tossed the QB under the bus two weeks ago when he was critical of his game management when talking to an NFL Network reporter. In that case the quarterback graciously tip-toed around an embarrassing situation.

Thursday, Cutler was not critical of the play-calling or anything except himself.

“I'm not going to jump on this bandwagon of trying to tear apart what we did or what we didn't do offensively,” Cutler said. “All I know is I want to play better. I wish I would have — maybe we wouldn't be in this situation.”

Cutler also didn't blame pressure from his monster contract, signed Jan. 4, for his uneven performance this season.

“Whether I make what I make or I make far less, I still want to go out there and play at an extremely high level,” he said. “That's why I started playing this game in the first place.”

Cutler replied “great question” when asked if the money mitigated his situation, drawing laughter. But he turned serious and said, “I'm still disappointed. Whether they pay me or don't pay me, I don't like being in this situation. I don't like having to sit up here and answer these questions about me not being able to play on Sunday.

“I'd rather get paid less and be able to play on Sunday and play at a high level, if that was possible. But it's not right now. The security of the contract is nice, but I would trade that for reversing our record and playing better football.”

While he didn't agree with his demotion Cutler somewhat understood the process.

Cutler didn't agree that he was being used as a scapegoat for a dysfunctional situation at Halas Hall that has held the franchise up as a national laughingstock.

“All I know is there's a lot of money involved in my contract, which comes with a lot of expectations and a lot of responsibility,” said Cutler, who is guaranteed $15.5 million next season.

Where does Cutler go from here? The bond appears broken between him and the current staff. And it's doubtful a new head coach and/or general manager would want to inherit Cutler's bulky salary and so-so production. A trade, if the Bears can find a partner, or a release seem like logical solutions.

But Cutler said he could play for Trestman next year.

“I would like to stay here,” he said. “I really like it here. I love the guys in the locker room that I get to play with. Clearly, it's a different circumstance now. But going forward, this is where I'd like to be.

“Marc's still a heckuva football coach. He's a heckuva offensive coach. He's a heckuva quarterbacks coach. I still truly believe that.”

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  Jay Cutler has thrown 28 TD passes this season but also has turned the ball over 24 times. Daniel White/
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