The Chicago Bears said goodbye to one the most productive quarterbacks in franchise history Wednesday when the team released Jay Cutler from his contract.
With the move, the Bears are moving on after eight seasons of having Cutler under center, and they're embarking on a future where they're hoping they can find a franchise quarterback that will be better suited to getting them into postseason contention.
After news spread that the team made his release official, Cutler released an official statement to the Chicago Sun-Times, which reflected on his time in the city and what it meant to him to be a Chicago Bear:
“I would like to first thank the city of Chicago and its passionate fans for a memorable eight years. I grew up in Indiana rooting for the Bears as kid, so it was an honor to wear the Bears uniform and play quarterback at Soldier Field for my favorite childhood team.
I would like to thank Virginia, George and the rest of the McCaskey family for their support over my tenure in Chicago as well as Jerry Angelo, Phil Emery and Ryan Pace. It was a great experience to have played with such a great list of teammates during my time as a Bear. Also, I would like to thank all of the great employees of the Bears from the locker room to the front office.
Chicago is the city where I met my wonderful wife Kristin. I have been fortunate to have three beautiful children here. Our family will leave Chicago with great memories and relationships on and off the field. We look forward to the next chapter in our lives and wish the best to Bear fans everywhere.”
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 upon his release. "I will always appreciate his toughness and respect his accomplishments on the field with the Bears."