Maybe Jay Cutler knew something all along. Or, maybe he just couldn’t bring himself to terms with the fact that his 11-year NFL career was over at age 34.
Whatever the case, the former Bears quarterback admits he was ill-prepared for his life-after-football career as an NFL analyst for FOX Sports.
When the Bears cut ties with Cutler in March, he hooked up with FOX to take his field-calling duties to the booth. Cutler was slated to announce the Bears-Titans pre-season game on Sunday and the Bear’s regular-season opener against the Falcons on Sept. 10. According to Sporting News, Cutler would make about $450,000 from FOX.
But when Ryan Tannehill went down with a season-ending knee injury three weeks ago, Dolphins coach Adam Gase reached out to his former Bears quarterback for help with a one-year, $10 million deal. Cutler couldn’t drop the mic fast enough. In fact, he may have never picked one up.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King asked Cutler: “Did you practice doing TV much this offseason before coming back?”
Cutler replied: “I mean, I’d be lying if I said I did.”
Some friends and former coaches, including Gase, attended a retirement party for Cutler in June. But it never seemed the talented thrower was ready to walk away. Cutler told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that same month that he still hadn’t signed his NFL retirement papers.
After he signed with the Dolphins, Cutler told NFL.com that he he spent most of his offseason enjoying time with his family and occasionally playing pickup basketball. When asked about his conditioning with an abbreviated pre-season camp to get ready, Cutler smiled and said: “The good thing is I play quarterback so I don’t really have to be that good of cardiovascular shape. “But I’ll be fine. [Gase] knows kind of what I’ve been up to, so we’ll figure it out along the way.”
Last week, Cutler admitted that losing with the Bears wore him down.
Cutler sounds rejuvenated with the Dolphins. He told King: “I am enjoying it a lot more than the past two years, just because I know how short-lived your NFL career is. It’s kind of a bonus. It’s a really good group of guys, and Adam does a great job of taking care of quarterbacks and the rest of the team, so it’s been fun.”
The bad part of all this? When he does finally call it quits, Cutler most likely has one less announcing gig to fall back on.