Former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler officially joining FOX Sports as broadcaster

Former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler officially joining FOX Sports as broadcaster

Jay Cutler is taking his talents to the broadcast booth.

FOX Sports announced Friday morning that the former Bears quarterback is joining the network as a broadcaster, teaming with announcers Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis to call NFL games.

Cutler's first game in the booth will be a Bears-Titans preseason game on Aug. 27, according to Burkhardt.

"This is an exciting new chapter for me in football," Cutler said in the announcement. "I love the game so much and look forward to having a lot of fun on the road this year for FOX Sports."

It's a fascinating move for a guy criticized so heavily during his eight seasons with the Bears, during which he put up some of the best numbers by a quarterback in franchise history.

In eight seasons, Cutler threw for 23,443 yards, 154 touchdowns and 109 interceptions. He was frequently injured, never playing 16 games in a single season in Chicago and three times playing in 11 or fewer. But he also led the Bears to the brink of the Super Bowl, helping the team reach the NFC title game at the end of the 2010 season, the Bears' lone playoff appearance during the Cutler Era.

The team moved on from Cutler this offseason, handing quarterbacking duties first over to free agent Mike Glennon before drafting Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 pick in last week's draft.

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Apparently Cutler did have some talks with other NFL teams about playing this season but ultimately opted to go with this new gig.

Cutler made an additional statement about shifting from the field to the booth:

"I don't know if retirement is the right word," he said. "I don't feel that anyone ever really retires from the NFL. You are either forced to leave or you lose the desire to do what's required to keep going. I'm in between those situations at this point in my life.

"Words can't express how grateful I am to everyone who helped me along my journey. I started playing tackle football at the age of 10 and was so lucky to have supportive parents and great coaches along the way that made my path possible. If I listed each person individually, this would quickly turn into an essay, but you know who you are and I wouldn't be in this situation without you. So thank you.

"To my parents, my sisters, my wife, my kids — thank you for putting your wants and needs on the back burner while I played a game every Friday, Saturday or Sunday. You made it all possible.

"I recently read a quote that struck a cord with me at the time. It was attributed to Henry Rollins (but with the internet these days, you can never be too sure). 'I did that, I gave everything I had to give to that. Now, if I returned to that it would be repetition — it might be fun repetition, but it wouldn't be meaningful repetition.' Thank you to everyone along the way. You made my dream come true."

Cutler might've been jokingly talked about as someone who had a "don't care" attitude on the field, but no Bears fan can tell you honestly they don't care to see what Cutler is like calling games.

Where do the Bears stand in the NFC wild-card race entering Week 11?

Where do the Bears stand in the NFC wild-card race entering Week 11?

It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Bears' playoff hopes weren't supposed to be a statistical improbability entering Week 11. Chicago wasn't supposed to be the first destination mentioned for every veteran quarterback likely to be available in the offseason, and Eddie Jackson wasn't supposed to still be searching for his first turnover almost three months into the season.

Chicago's odds of making the playoffs aren't good entering Sunday night's game against the Rams. They're terrible, actually, as the Bears have around a 5 percent chance at a postseason berth. Put another way, there's a 95 percent chance the season is already over. Ouch.

But that's why they play the game, right? 

Why are the Bears' chances so low? First, they have no shot at winning the NFC North. The Packers are 7-2 and rolling. Chicago is 3.5 games behind with only seven games to play. Green Bay would need to suffer a historic collapse coupled with Mitch Trubisky playing like an MVP candidate for that to happen. Neither is within the realm of possibility.

As a result, Chicago's only opportunity is the wild card, and with the way the NFC West is playing right now, there's really only one spot up for grabs. The 49ers (8-1) and Seahawks (8-2) have complicated things for the rest of the conference. The second-place team in the NFC West will have a better record than the division winner in the NFC East.

The second and final wild-card spot is currently held by the Vikings (7-3). The Bears defeated Minnesota in Week 4, so in theory, they're only 1.5 games back. They'll face off against each other again in Week 17, which at this rate, could (if everything goes perfectly) be for a trip to the postseason. 

In order for the Bears' season finale to have that kind of meaning, several teams in front of them have to fall on hard times. The Cowboys (5-4), Rams (5-4) and Panthers (5-4) are all one game ahead and the next-best threats to the Vikings. 

The good news? The Bears do have some control over their own destiny. When factoring Week 17's game against Minnesota, they play three of the four teams slotted ahead of them in the wild-card race over their final seven games. 

It all begins with Sunday night's do-or-die game against the Rams. A win evens the Bears' record at 5-5 with two beatable opponents in Weeks 12 and 13 (Giants and Lions.) If their record is 7-5 entering the final quarter of the season, get your popcorn ready. The quest for the playoffs will be full speed ahead. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Will David Montgomery play against the Rams? Nagy "can't say either way"

Will David Montgomery play against the Rams? Nagy "can't say either way"

The Bears may be without David Montgomery when they play the Rams this weekend. 

The rookie running back made an appearance on the injury report after Wednesday's practice, listed as limited with an ankle issue. Matt Nagy went into a little more detail on Thursday, explaining that Montgomery "lightly" rolled his ankle. He also declined to speculate whether it would be something that could keep him out on Sunday. 

"We wanted to keep him out," he said. "And we’ll just keep an eye on him for here today with how things go.

"We’re working through that. I can’t say either way. We’ll just kind of keep an eye on it as it goes here and see how it is today. We’re working through today and see how he goes." 

It'd obviously be a tough loss for a Bears' offense that's finally starting to see (small) signs of progress as Montgomery's become more involved. He went over 100 yards rushing for the first time in his NFL career against the Chargers in Week 8, and has been seen his yards per carry tick up over the last month (3.6 over the last four games). 

"He’s always moving forward, always getting a little more than he should," offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. "And that’s been contagious I think for the rest of the unit. He’s a tough, tough dude, and again we’ve said, he’s an all-purpose guy. He can protect. He can obviously run the football. He’s a good route-runner." 

The Bears would be in a precarious position if Montgomery can't go on Sunday. After cutting Mike Davis last week, they'd be left with Tarik Cohen and Ryan Nall as the two active backs. With Trey Burton also nursing a thigh injury that could keep him out, the Bears' offense will be notably short-handed going into a key battle of two NFC teams trying to keep any glimmer of a playoff berth alive. 

"You're going to have contingency plans for everybody and everything," Helfrich added. "It's perfect because I have no idea, and can honestly everything as possible. You have to have plans for every single situation, and we'll do that to the best of our ability." 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.