Jay Cutler lavishes praise on Josh McCown for what the latter did for the quarterback position and 2013 Bears in general, and for what McCown did for Cutler personally.
On Wednesday, with McCown now in Tampa as a member of Lovie Smith’s Buccaneers, Cutler was able to do a little something for McCown.
McCown was voted as the 2013 winner of the veterans’ Brian Piccolo Award but reached out to acknowledge the honor using Cutler, who relayed McCown’s comments.
But first Cutler, who accepted the award on behalf of McCown, had comments of his own about his former teammate:
“I’m honored to receive this award for him,” Cutler said. “My only regret is that I wish I would have met him earlier in life. It’s very rare to find a teammate that not only makes you a better player but also a better person.
“I talked to Josh whenever they asked me to [accept the award for McCown]. I said we’ve got two options, either I can stand up here and tell a bunch of lies about you or you can come in and do it yourself.”
Well, McCown did it himself. He sent Cutler what he wanted to say because, predictably, McCown didn’t want to take the time away from teammates at this early stage of installations with a new coaching staff and a new starting quarterback (McCown):
“2013 will always be remembered as a special season in my life because I learned so much,” McCown said via Cutler. “The core values in my faith have been strengthened and that experience alone is priceless. There’s a scripture that says, ‘Perfect love casts out all fear.’ And that was brought to light many times throughout the 2013 season.”
McCown earned the admiration of teammates and coaches not only with his performances in relief of an injured Cutler, but also for what he delivered when the important work was being done off the field.
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He helped the young offensive players from day one, Cutler recalled. When he came in May, he was staying at the hotel with the young players because his family was back in North Carolina.
“He’s a 33-, 34-year-old guy. It would be very easy for him to close his room…and call home and talk to his family and try to spend as much time with them, but that was the opposite of Josh. He stuck around here. In the lobby at the hotel, he’d have guys down there, order pizzas and just go through the offense. Write it up on the boards, countless hours, until 9, 10, 11 o’clock at night, working with these young players...
"Josh didn’t know how to say ‘no’ when it came to helping people or extending himself. That’s a rare quality in this industry and a rare quality in people, especially in the world of self’ies and hashtags. Josh genuinely cared about others, and you could see it every day in how he operated and how he extended himself. It’s impossible to replace a person like Josh McCown, but I couldn’t be happier for him on his next journey down in Tampa."