Bears release longtime quarterback Jay Cutler

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Friday, March 10, 2017

The Chicago Bears released quarterback Jay Cutler on Thursday, ending a tumultuous eight-year tenure with the organization.

Cutler's release comes after the Bears agreed to a three-year, $45 million contract with quarterback Mike Glennon, sources told ESPN. Glennon, who is expected to take over as the Bears' starting quarterback, will receive $19 million guaranteed in his contract.

Cutler holds almost every passing record in franchise history, though he likely will be remembered for leading the Bears to just one playoff appearance in eight seasons.

He thanked the team and Chicago in a statement released to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"I grew up in Indiana rooting for the Bears as [a] kid, so it was an honor to wear the Bears uniform and play quarterback at Soldier Field for my favorite childhood team," he said. "Our family will leave Chicago with great memories and relationships on and off the field. We look forward to the next chapter in our lives and wish the best to Bear fans everywhere."

"We are grateful to Jay for all he did as a Bear," Bears chairman George McCaskey said in a statement. "His ability, toughness, and intelligence were on daily display at Halas Hall and Soldier Field. He had an extraordinary impact off the field, doing things for people -- especially kids -- without expecting or wanting any recognition. I was and am a big fan of his. We wish Jay, Kristin and their three kids all the best."

The veteran quarterback, who turns 34 years old in April, played in just five games last season because of thumb and shoulder injuries. Cutler suffered a torn labrum in his right throwing shoulder and underwent surgery in December.

Among Chicago's most polarizing athletes, Cutler's tenure with the Bears was marked by turnovers. He threw 109 interceptions in 102 regular-season games, including a career-worst 26 picks in 2009 after the club paid a hefty price to acquire him from the Denver Broncos.

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 Cutler's 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.

ESPN's Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.

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