A move that was widely seen as inevitable will finally happen on Thursday, as the Chicago Bears have released quarterback Jay Cutler.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Cutler asked for his release from the team, and the Bears agreed to the request, announcing it Thursday afternoon.
"I would like to first thank the city of Chicago and its passionate fans for a memorable eight years," Cutler said in a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times. "I grew up in Indiana rooting for the Bears as a kid, so it was an honor to wear the Bears uniform and play quarterback at Soldier Field for my favorite childhood team."
Cutler joined the Bears after being traded from the Denver Broncos in 2009, and he went on to set all kinds of records with the team for passing yards and touchdowns.
Unfortunately, that success also came with a lot of down times, and he ends his Bears career with a 51-51 record and just one playoff appearance.
"I appreciate Jay's professionalism throughout this process and throughout my two years with him here in Chicago," Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said in a statement. "I will always appreciate his toughness and respect his accomplishments on the field with the Bears."
Pace wasn't the only Bears executive to extend plaudits to Cutler, as Bears Chairman George McCaskey also weighed in.
"We are grateful to Jay for all he did as a Bear," he said. "His ability, toughness, and intelligence were on daily display at Halas Hall and Soldier Field. We wish Jay, Kristin, and their three kids all the best."
During his Bears career, Cutler set team records for passing yards (23,443) and touchdowns (154).
For now, Cutler will have several options on what the next step in his career will be. The New York Jets are rumored to have interest in his services, but he could also choose to retire if the right opportunity doesn't present itself.
We'll have more on this story as it develops.