LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Retired middle linebacker Brian Urlacher revealed in a Yahoo! Sports interview that Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was the only ex-teammate who failed to reach out to Urlacher after he retired on May 22, even though the Bears legend described himself as one of Cutler’s most vocal supporters in the last several years.
"Well, I did not hear from Jay, out of all the guys I played with, but that’s just – maybe we weren’t as close as, like you said, as we could have been," Urlacher said. "That’s just the way to let you know where you stand with people. But it’s not his job to text me, maybe that’s not his thing. That’s fine. That’s the way it is. I felt like I stood up for him more than anyone else did over the last three or four years in the media. I feel bad for the guy, he takes a lot of grief from the media too."
Cutler responded to Urlacher’s comments on Thursday during his weekly press conference at Halas Hall.
"No, I haven’t spoken to Brian," Cutler said. "I did not call him. I guess I’ll reach out to him."
Denver traded Cutler to the Bears in April 2009 in exchange for a pair of first-round draft choices, a third-round pick and quarterback Kyle Orton.
Urlacher admitted that he initially had reservations about the club trading for Cutler because Orton had led the Bears to nine wins the previous season, throwing just 12 interceptions in 465 pass attempts.
"It was a tough situation with him coming in because we gave up two first-round picks to get him," Urlacher said. "We got rid of our quarterback at the time, Kyle Orton, who I didn’t think needed to be traded in the first place. I thought he was our guy. We won games with him. He did the things as a defensive player you needed: He didn’t turn the football over. He gave us a chance to play defense. So I was mad when they traded him in the first place. I didn’t understand it.
"I was also excited. We got a quarterback that could possibly take us to the Super Bowl. Jay Cutler is a first-round pick, had a great arm, etcetera. It’s just – he’s offense, I’m defense. We didn’t get a chance to interact as much as we should have, maybe."
Urlacher denied a report that he and Cutler had to be separated during an argument in 2009, the quarterback's first year in Chicago.
"No. I heard that too," Urlacher said. "That was early. That never happened. I never had an altercation with my teammates in the locker room. In practice, we fight all the time. Jay and I never fought in practice. We talked a lot just to keep practice interesting. We never had to be separated in the locker room. I don’t know where that came from or who made that up. But there was never anything even close to that."
Urlacher also squashed a rumor that Cutler had played a role in the Bears’ decision to break off contract talks with Urlacher in the early stages of free agency. Urlacher stated that if the Bears had made him an initial offer, instead of requiring his agent to submit a contract proposal in the exclusive negotiating window in the days leading up to the start of free agency, that he would still be on the field playing for the Bears in 2013.
"In the end, that's the Bears' decision," Urlacher said. "Phil Emery is the one who makes that decision. Phil Emery makes all personnel decisions, according to him. That’s what he says. It was his decision not to bring me back. Not Jay’s or anyone else’s. In the end, Phil had the final say on it."