Jay Cutler: “I was shocked”

Former Chicago Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler says the news of his benching blindsided him and that he didn’t handle it well initially.

Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman announced today his decision to bench quarterback Jay Cutler with two games remaining in the season.

Cutler, who was informed of the decision last night, was blindsided by the news.

“I was shocked at first and then disappointed. I didn’t see it coming,” Cutler said today. “I didn’t stick around and ask a lot of questions. It was something I probably didn’t take as well as I – I don't know if anyone would take it well – I didn’t take it well at the time.”

Cutler said he’s never before been benched.

“Not that I can remember.”

It’s a move very few saw coming, as the team just awarded him a seven-year, $126.7 million contract this past offseason. Yet his inconsistencies as a passer and a decision maker, as well as his league-leading 24 turnovers, resulted in the demotion.

“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. “And whenever you’re not winning and performing the way you should, there’s a likelihood that could happen.

“I didn’t play well. The quarterback has a lot to do with wins and losses in this league in this day and age. Only winning five games, a lot of that’s going to be on me.”

He said the size of his contract doesn’t make dealing with his current situation any easier.

“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 – that’s why I started playing this game in the first place.

“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.”

Now the highest paid backup in the history of the NFL, questions surround Cutler’s future in Chicago. Even he admitted the uncertainty of the situation.

“When you sign a seven-year deal, you think you’re going to be here a while. I’m still hopeful that that’s going to ring true, that we’ll have another shot at this. But after that last game, a lot could happen. We’ve prepared for it.”

When asked if he’s considered the possibility he’s thrown his last pass in Chicago, Cutler said: “Yeah, it definitely crossed my mind. For sure.”

He said he has not spoken with general manager Phil Emery.

“I did not. I don’t know if they have those answers right now and I’m not going to push them to find out those answers. I think there’s enough distractions going on in this building that my focus could only be just helping the guys and the offense, trying to help Jimmy, making sure he’s ready to go on Sunday. Whenever we get to the point where those things are needed to know, we’ll find those out.”

Despite being benched, Cutler said he’s willing to work with Trestman in the future.

“Yeah, I definitely think I could. We’d have to figure some things out though in the offseason, which I think would be easy enough to identify and work on things. That’s not out of the question, in my book anyway.

“I would like to stay here. 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.”

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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