While Tony Romo has been all-in in the transition to his broadcast career at CBS, it never seemed like Jay Cutler was all that enthused about his big move to Fox Sports when his time with the Chicago Bears came to an end. Then again, you never really find “Jay Cutler” and “enthused” in too many sentences together.
Cutler didn’t find any suitors on the open market and in his statement about joining Fox Sports earlier this year, he openly said that he didn’t really consider himself retired. That turned out to be the case as Cutler signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins to be their starting quarterback this season.
So this comment from Cutler when he spoke recently with Peter King of Sports Illustrated may not surprise you. King begins his anecdote in this week’s MMQB column with a question to Cutler about his TV career at Fox that he gave up to return to the Dolphins. In typical Cutler fashion, he said that he hadn’t practiced all that much to transition into a broadcasting career.
Me to Jay Cutler: “Did you practice doing TV much this offseason before coming back?”
Cutler: “I mean, I’d be lying if I said I did.”
Cutler never worried about being politically correct. Or correct. He’s the Paul Zimmerman of quarterbacks. So when he walked away from football after last season for the FOX booth, at age 33, and to be a husband and dad to his three kids in Nashville, it just felt odd. In an era when the best quarterbacks talk about (and not flippantly) playing into their 40s, Cutler walked away totally healthy, five or seven years before his time. Was he a great quarterback? No. Could he be a top-15 quarterback, a good player on a playoff contender, in the right place? Absolutely. “Without Jay, and I told him this, I’d never have gotten this job,” said his Chicago coordinator in 2015, Adam Gase, now Miami’s coach.
Compare that attitude towards his broadcasting career to Tony Romo who has done multiple practice games and talks about a broadcast “boot camp” to get him ready to share the booth with Jim Nantz. Maybe it’s Cutler’s way of saying that he always had it in the back of his mind that some team would come calling who needed a veteran quarterback.
The important point that King makes is that given Cutler’s age, this may not just be a one-year shot in Miami. It’s not like Ryan Tannehill is on his way to Canton or anything, so if Cutler can play well this season with Adam Gase then it could be a multi-year stay in Miami. With quarterbacks now playing well into their late thirties and even some reaching 40, Cutler may have five or six years left in the NFL.
If that’s the case, it may be a few years before we see him attempt a return to the NFL on Fox or somewhere else. One supposes there will be plenty of time for practice then.