Jay Cutler's exit from Denver is easily traceable.
He felt he could not trust Josh McDaniels after he got on board with the new coach, bought into the program McDaniels was selling, and then the new coach tried to trade him. The nearly five weeks of banter back-and-forth, a teleconference, a face-to-face sitdown, text messages, he said, she said produced nothing but drama, a riveting offseason story the NFL probably cherished.
And it ultimately led to Cutler becoming a Bear, the 12th starting quarterback of the Jerry Angelo regime, Thursday afternoon in a blockbuster deal that will define the general manager's career one way or another.
Now we'll see where Cutler can pick things up with another coach he feels has jilted him, or at least did at one point--Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner.
Yep. Add Turner to the list of coaches that might not be high on Cutler's list. Those close to Cutler have said so, any way. It ought to make for some interesting questions when Cutler is introduced at a 5 p.m. press conference at Halas Hall. Here's betting the Bears work to smooth this one over before he fields any of those queries if they already haven't. We'll see if in the passage of time this one has blown over.
Jay Burch, the athletic director at Heritage Hills High School where Cutler prepped in southern Indiana, described it to Denver Post columnist Woody Paige back in December.
As the story goes--and it's unfolded in the Denver Post, on ESPN.com and in the Post-Tribune in Merrillville, Ind., among other places--Cutler accepted a scholarship to Illinois without having visited the campus. Turner, of course, was the head coach at the time. Cutler's high school football season led straight into basketball season (he was a three-sport star who reportedly had the talent as a switch-hitting shortstop to play professionally) and he didn't get to Champaign, Ill., to check out the campus until the end of December. When he got there, things weren't all ``Oskee Wow-Wow.'' Try ``what the hell?!?''
``When Jay went for his official visit, the coach told him they were rescinding the offer because they had some hot-shot quarterback from California,'' Burch told Paige.
That hot shot turned out to be Mike Dlugolecki, who quickly transferred away from Illinois to San Diego State where he made his mark, if you can call it that, passing for 2,597 yards with 10 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Cutler had turned down interest from Purdue, Duke and Maryland to commit to Illinois. When he was left empty-handed in Champaign, he was forced to scramble.
``That was dirty,'' Jack Cutler said in Mike Hutton's May 3, 2006 story in the Post-Tribune. ``But that's what happened.''
Michael Smith at The Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal attributed the same word ``dirty'' to Jack Cutler in a Nov. 12, 2005 article.
The Bears were ecstatic Thursday with the addition of Cutler and should be. Sid Luckman's last season was 1950. The Bears have traded away Bobby Layne, lost a coin flip for Terry Bradshaw, traded away a first-round pick for another quarterback from Indiana, Rick Mirer, and wasted precious time waiting for non-prospects to become prospects. Landing at Vanderbilt certainly worked out for Cutler. He became a first-round draft pick. The rest is history.
Angelo just better hope Cutler can get on board with Turner, who told the Tribune in the past that Illinois never rescinded a scholarship because it never offered one to Cutler. Maybe they should get together on this one.