Jay Cutler, the former Chicago Bears quarterback who announced his retirement Friday to join the No. 2 NFL broadcast team at Fox as an analyst, has some advice for his old team about first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky.
Cutler advised against the Bears playing Trubisky, the second overall pick in last week’s draft, if the team gets off to a slow start.
Instead, Cutler said the rookie quarterback should be brought along slowly, with veteran Mike Glennon keeping the starting job until Trubisky is ready.
“If it’s going downhill, there is no way I’m playing him,” Cutler told ESPN Radio on Friday. “For what? So he can go out there and take a beating and get off to a rough start as an NFL quarterback?”
Glennon, who was the backup for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and hasn’t started a game in more than two years, was signed by the Bears this offseason to a three-year deal worth $43.5 million after the team cut Cutler.
Trubisky, out of North Carolina, is only the second quarterback taken by the Bears in the top 10, joining Super Bowl XX champion Jim McMahon, and the first Chicago quarterback drafted in Round 1 since Rex Grossman in 2003.
“I don’t think any of us will know where the Bears are until we see four, five or six games and kind of feel out how the season is going to go,” Cutler said. “If it’s going downhill, I really don’t see any reason to play the kid.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of people calling for his name because you draft him at No. 2 and you draft him for a reason and that’s to play football and win games.”
Cutler was a first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2006 and started the final five games of his rookie season.
“I feel like my situation is different than his,” Cutler told ESPN Radio. “I was on a very veteran team. (Denver head coach) Mike Shanahan was offensive-driven and everything he did centered around the quarterback. That team was built a little different than the Bears are.
“I mean, Russell Wilson, they put him in (as a rookie in Seattle), the defense was unbelievable, they ran the ball a lot, they protected him and moved the pocket.
“Then go back to Ben Roethlisberger. That first year he was making 12-15 throws per game, the Steelers ran the ball and protected him. You probably have to go back to Dan Marino to find a (first-year quarterback) that was thrown into the fire and asked to throw the ball 30-40 times per game to win.
“It’s really hard to do as a young quarterback.”
Cutler auditioned with Fox on Thursday. The network was seeking a replacement for John Lynch after the latter became the San Francisco 49ers’ general manager earlier this offseason.
Cutler will be part of a three-man booth with Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis, the network announced Friday.
Over his eight seasons in Chicago, Cutler became the Bears’ all-time leader in passing yards (23,443) and touchdowns (154) in 102 games. The Bears made the playoffs only once during Cutler’s tenure with the team.
The Bears acquired Cutler from the Broncos for multiple draft picks on April 3, 2009. With Denver, Cutler threw for 9,024 yards and 54 touchdowns opposite 37 interceptions in 37 games over three seasons.