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Veteran QB Brian Hoyer has long identified with Jay Cutler

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- As an undrafted rookie out of Michigan State in 2009, Brian Hoyer closely identified himself with one NFL quarterback in particular: Jay Cutler.

“It’s funny because I remember giving an interview my rookie year out of college and they asked me what kind of quarterback I compared myself to,” Hoyer said on Wednesday. “Jay is who I modeled myself after in college because he is that guy who is the prototypical drop-back passer, but also has the ability to extend the play here and there. I always felt Jay had a strong arm, but he’s mobile enough to move around in the pocket to extend plays.”

Hoyer’s relationship with Cutler dates back to the 2014 preseason, when Dowell Loggains -- Cleveland’s quarterbacks coach that year -- introduced the two men when the Bears played the Browns in a preseason game at Browns Stadium.

“We talked a little bit after the game and exchanged phone numbers,” Hoyer said. “Jay was one of the first people to welcome me here in Chicago. I came in to town and had dinner with Jay, Dowell and [Bears quarterbacks coach] Dave Ragone. So Jay’s been very welcoming. It’s good to be around a guy who’s been a starting quarterback for a long time.”

A former starter in Cleveland and Houston, Hoyer is expected to be Cutler’s primary backup for the Chicago Bears in the fall. The 30-year-old agreed to a one-year deal that included a $500,000 signing bonus and guaranteed $250,000 of his $1.5 million base salary in 2016.

The Bears were thrilled to land Hoyer, who passed for 2,606 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions in the regular season for the Houston Texans last year. Chicago wanted to find an experienced quarterback to work alongside fellow reserves David Fales and Matt Blanchard, and Hoyer represented the best available veteran option. The year before joining the Texans, Hoyer threw for 3,326 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games for the Browns.

Hoyer faced a difficult decision. He initially wanted another starting job before he committed to a backup role.

“Obviously the offseason was crazy,” Hoyer said. "With Houston signing Brock [Osweiler] on the first day of free agency, I was kind of in this limbo. The Texans were trying to trade me, but I think a lot of teams figured why trade for him because they are not going to keep him anyways. Then I got released two weeks before the draft and immediately went to visit the Jets and Broncos. That slow-played all the way through the draft, and at that point I didn’t want other opportunities to start drying up.

"A lot has been made about my relationship with Dowell, but I also knew John Fox when he coached the Panthers. I met with their staff a few times and got to know him and had a lot of respect for him. Also, being back in the Midwest, it’s close to Cleveland, and therefore good for my family. So I wanted to be with a team. And this was the best fit for me.”