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Cutler passes his first test

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
After a month headlining "America's Top Cry-baby," Jay Cutler kept it nice and bland in his first appearance as Chicago's new quarterback. Appearing at a news conference Friday in Lake Forest, Ill., Cutler offered no defense of his recent showdown with the Denver Broncos and downplayed the urgency of winning over a new locker room.

"I think that will all come in time," Cutler said. "I think my teammates will see what kind of guy I am. I think the fans will see what kind of player I am, on and off the field. I'm going to be active in the community. My foundation is going to get involved in Chicago. They're not going to watch this press conference ... and I'm not going to change everyone's minds. It's just not going to happen.

"I'm not going to change everyone's mind in this room. There is going to be good articles. There is going to be bad articles. But hopefully over time I can win everybody over."

The Bears already have a strong set of veteran leaders, ranging from center Olin Kreutz to linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. So Cutler won't have to step into a prominent position the moment he walks into the locker room. Coach Lovie Smith, in fact, said the Bears are expecting nothing more than for Cutler to "be another teammate."

Cutler, of course, would be smart to tread lightly at first -- and not just because of his reputation, deserved or otherwise. He is replacing a popular former teammate in Kyle Orton, and it's only natural for some veterans to withhold judgment. I think that sentiment was evident in the words of Urlacher, who seemed somewhat reserved in an interview Thursday night with the Chicago Tribune.

Urlacher: "I guess we got better as a team. You get a quarterback who is a Pro Bowl guy. But I will say this: I think Kyle Orton is a good quarterback. He's a great teammate. I hope he does really well in Denver."

Urlacher went on to say:

"I don't think Jay is going to be an issue. We have a pretty good locker room, so I'm not worried about that. ... I'm not worried about him fitting in."

Cutler did nip one potential hurdle right away, laughing off the enmity he once felt for Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner. (When he was the Illinois head coach, Turner rescinded a scholarship offer to Cutler. Here is the full story.)

Cutler and Turner spoke for about 15-20 minutes on Thursday. On Friday, Cutler said the scholarship issue happened "too long ago" to still be a problem.

"I think it's kind of funny now at this point," he added. "I'm back here, now he's here. Things happen for a reason. I'm lucky to be here and I'm excited to get to work for him."

So far, so good.


Ed Werder sits down with Jay Cutler to talk about the trade to Chicago.