Cutler expected, expecting, to play

After sitting out the Bears’ game against the Carolina Panthers last week because of a concussion, quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to play – and is expecting to play – against the Seahawks in Chicago on Sunday.

“That’s the expectation,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said today during a conference call interview.

Cutler was more expansive. He was cleared to return to practice on Tuesday and scheduled to practice later today.

“As of now, yeah,” he said when asked if he would play this week. “We’ve still got to go out and practice and see how I feel and everything. But we went to the doctor on Monday and everything seemed to be in good order. So as long as everything goes well this week, yeah.”

Cutler missed the first game of his five-year NFL career because of an injury last week, when backup Todd Collins threw four interceptions in a game the Bears still won 23-6.

“It was not easy to get out there and watch all the guys that you’ve been through all training camp and preseason and four games go out there without you,” Cutler said during a conference call interview. “It wasn’t easy.”

Cutler got the concussion in the Bears’ previous game against the New York Giants, on one of the nine plays where he was sacked.

“It’s just one of those things that is going to happen in football,” he said. “If you play enough you’re probably going to get some sort of injury, or a concussion, or something. But when they start talking about your brain and long-term things that could happen to you, you’ve kind of got to take a step back.”

Does he feel better now? “Yeah, I feel great,” he said.

So having stepped back for a game, Cutler is ready to step back in for this game.

The Seahawks already were counting on seeing Cutler, and coach Pete Carroll is impressed by what he’s seen from the former Broncos QB who was traded to the Bears last year.

“Cutler is really something now,” Carroll said on Monday. “He has come out smoking. He’s over 100 efficiency rating for the quarterback (102.2), with a great arm, and athleticism and speed and all the rest of the things he has.

“This is a volatile offense with a guy with that kind of gun back there. So we know a great deal about (offensive coordinator Mike) Martz’s approach, and now he has a gunslinger back there that can do anything you want in the passing game, and (Matt) Forte and the running game. So this is a very difficult approach for us. But we go with the system knowing the magnitude of the quarterback is really kind of how we look at it, they can do whatever they want to do with this throwing game.

“So, like I said, it’s a big challenge.”

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