Chicago Bears' Cutler unaware of any QB competition
Despite the public insinuation from Chicago Bears coach John Fox that there would be a quarterback competition even after Jay Cutler had recovered from a sprained right thumb, Cutler said he was never told that.
"My discussions with everybody that I have relationships with in here (at Halas Hall) were positive, and (that) whenever I was ready to go, I'd be ready to go," he said. "There was never any discussion regarding that with me."
Now it's moot, since fill-in Brian Hoyer suffered a fractured arm in last Thursday's loss at Green Bay, most likely a season-ender.
Conveniently and coincidentally, Cutler was cleared to return last weekend and will start Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field.
In his first media session since he was injured in Week 2, Cutler was asked if he felt he still had Fox's support?
"He doesn't have a choice, I guess, at this point," Cutler said. "Brian is out, so I've got to go. I've had good conversations with 'Foxy' this week, last week, the week before.
"There's never been any strain in our relationship. We're both very open and honest, and we're on the same page. We just want to win football games."
Monday will be six weeks to the day since the last game Cutler played, although he claims to be "foggy," when it comes to remembering exactly when the injury occurred.
Practices Thursday-Saturday will be huge in knocking off the rust. Cutler says he's unaffected by the injury -- for now.
"(But) I haven't gotten hit," he said. "Throwing, I'm good. You can't feel it throwing. Strength was the biggest thing, getting that back. There was soreness for a while. Just getting the strength back was the ultimate hurdle."
The Bears' only other quarterback option as they prepare for Monday's game against the NFL's No. 1 defense is Matt Barkley.
The four-year journeyman has never started an NFL game, and when he relieved Hoyer last week it was only his fifth appearance. Barkley has only been with the Bears since Sept. 5, and his lack of experience and rudimentary understanding of the playbook were evident.
So for now, it's Cutler's team again. That seemed uncertain when Hoyer posted back-to-back passer ratings of 120 or better in Weeks 4 and 5. But Cutler said he didn't concern himself with the situation at the time.
"I didn't really get into it," he said. "I didn't want to. It didn't concern me. I wasn't ready to play. My thumb wasn't healed. The doctors weren't going to let me go. The training staff wasn't going to let me go. It didn't really bother me at that point."
Cutler's future with the organization will be revisited in the days immediately after the end of the season.
He is not owed any more guaranteed money on the seven-year, $126.7 million contract he signed before the 2014 season.
His base salary for 2017 is $12.5 million, and his cap hit would be $16 million, figures that the Bears would be unwilling to squeeze under the salary cap.
But, according to Cutler, that's a situation that will be worked out in January.
"Those are conversations for the end of the year," he said. "Right now I'm working with (offensive coordinator) Dowell (Loggains) and (quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone), and we're just trying to find first downs and get our third-down conversion rate back up and score more points. That's where all my focus is.
"Whatever happens at the end of the year, it's supposed to happen, and we'll go accordingly. But right now it's not something that I worry about.
"It's my 11th year, my eighth year here. I've seen a lot of ups and downs, and it's how it goes. At the end of the year, we can have those conversations. Whatever happens, happens."
• Running back David Cobb was signed to the practice squad and tight end Marcel Jensen was waived.
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