Ex-Bears QB Jay Cutler has deal to do TV for Fox

Cutler agrees to deal as commentator (1:04)

Mike and Mike give their take on Jay Cutler agreeing to a deal with Fox as a color commentator and whether this is the end of his playing career. (1:04)

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has accepted a role as a color commentator for Fox Sports, effectively ending Cutler's 11-year NFL career.

Cutler called the decision permanent.

"I don't really see anything else happening," Cutler said on ESPN 1000's Waddle and Silvy Show on Friday. "I'm happy with where I am in my life and in the future going forward. So we can go ahead and stamp that -- it's permanent."

Cutler, 34, will start in a three-man booth alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and analyst Charles Davis, allowing Cutler to get adjusted in the same way that Troy Aikman did when he entered broadcasting in 2002.

It is unknown whether Cutler has a clause in his TV deal that would allow him to leave for a quarterback job, though Fox does have a history of putting such clauses in contracts. Brady Quinn, for instance, briefly left his role at Fox in 2014 to attend Dolphins training camp -- something his contract allowed him to do -- before later returning to the network with the same clause in his new deal.

Cutler flew to Los Angeles and auditioned with Burkhardt on April 27.

Earlier on Friday, Cutler released a statement after Fox made the news official.

"Words can't express how grateful I am to everyone who helped me along my journey," Cutler said. "I started playing tackle football at the age of 10 and was so lucky to have supportive parents and great coaches along the way that made my path possible. If I listed each person individually, this would quickly turn into an essay, but you know who you are and I wouldn't be in this situation without you. So thank you.

"To my parents, my sisters, my wife and kids -- thank you for putting your wants and needs on the back burner while I played a game every Friday, Saturday or Sunday. You made it all possible.

"I recently read a quote that struck a chord with me at the time. It was attributed to Henry Rollins (but with the Internet these days, you can never be too sure). 'I did that, I gave everything I had to give to that. Now, if I returned to that it would be repetition -- it might be fun repetition, but it wouldn't be meaningful repetition.' Thank you to everyone along the way. You made my dream come true."

Fox has been searching for a new analyst to work alongside Burkhardt after John Lynch left to become the San Francisco 49ers' general manager earlier this offseason.

Cutler's knowledge of the NFC, after an eight-year stint in Chicago, should be an asset to the network because Fox broadcasts the NFC package of games. His first Fox game will be the Bears' third preseason game, at Tennessee on Aug. 27.

Cutler, whom the Bears released on March 9, had conversations with the New York Jets and Houston Texans before the draft, but the talks ultimately went nowhere, sources said.

In a statement tweeted out by the Bears, chairman George H. McCaskey expressed his support for the next phase of Cutler's career.

Cutler will be the second high-profile quarterback to leave the playing field for the broadcast booth this offseason. Former Cowboys star Tony Romo joined CBS last month.

Cutler holds almost every passing record in Bears franchise history, though he likely will be remembered for leading Chicago to only one playoff appearance in eight seasons. The veteran quarterback played in just five games last season because of thumb and shoulder injuries. He also suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder and underwent surgery in December.

Cutler led the Bears to the NFC Championship Game in 2010 -- a contest he left because of a knee injury -- and posted a career-best 92.3 passer rating in 2015, but those achievements were overshadowed by his struggles protecting the football. Cutler cycled through six offensive coordinators in Chicago. The Bears' revolving door of playcallers also contributed to Cutler's erratic play.

Cutler said he sensed in January the Bears intended to release him but that he holds no grudges against the team he rooted for growing up in Indiana.

"I grew up a Bears fan and I still have a lot of my Bears stuff," Cutler said. "I was a Bears fan as a kid, I was a Bears fan growing up. It's not like I'm not going to be a Bears fan just because they released me and I'm not playing anymore. I'm happy to go back to being a Bears fan with all the loyal Chicago fans, because that's kind of where I started."