A friendship with Adam Gase that spans more than a decade, a roster that returns much of last year's playoff team and a nudge from his wife were what ultimately convinced Jay Cutler to end his brief retirement and sign a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.
The 34-year-old quarterback, released by the Chicago Bears in March, said Monday he’s been given “no guarantees” about his role in Miami, where the Dolphins are trying to replace injured starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
“A situation like this doesn’t come along very often,” Cutler said. “I know the system, and you’re talking about a playoff team with a lot of potential. There’s not a lot of jobs I would have taken. This has to be top of the list.”
Gase has yet to name Cutler as his official starter, but he said Monday the veteran "didn't come out of retirement to stand on the sidelines." Cutler already has a rich history with the Dolphins’ second-year head coach and his offense after spending the 2015 season under Gase's tutelage in Chicago.
Cutler is trying to re-acclimate himself to football and familiarize himself with his first new team in more than eight years. He had surgery on his right shoulder in December, but said he was medically cleared to resume throwing in March.
He hasn’t needed to do much of that, though, as he prepared for a career as a broadcaster with Fox. He said Monday that he worked out some at his alma mater, Vanderbilt, played basketball and threw with his two young sons, but admitted he was “a bit behind” the rest of his new teammates physically.
"The good thing is I play quarterback, so I don’t have to be in that great cardiovascular shape," Cutler said with a smile.
He added: “It’ll come back to me. I’m not worried about my arm, the throwing part of it."
Cutler, who arrived in South Florida Monday morning, said Gase reached out to him after Tannehill suffered a left knee injury on Thursday and first inquired about his fitness. Cutler said Gase didn’t pressure him to come out of retirement, and it was actually his wife, former reality TV star and fashion designer Kristin Cavallari, who talked him into accepting the offer.
“It was definitely hard. The last four months I’ve been in a different mode, a different mindset getting ready for the Fox deal,” Cutler said. “I was pretty good with where I was in my life, I was around the kids a lot and I was pretty content.”
Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.