Zach Miller thinks Jay Cutler still has a lot of football left in him

Zach Miller thinks Jay Cutler still has a lot of football left in him

Zach Miller firmly believes his former quarterback can still play at a high level in the NFL. 

Speaking to the media at the 2017 Bears Care Gala, the Bears tight end discussed his reaction to hearing that Jay Cutler was stepping off the field and into the booth. 

"I was surprised because I know Jay Cutler has a lot of football left in him," Miller said.

Miller, who pulled in six touchdown passes from Cutty over the course of his career, was also sure the 11-year vet would be successful in his new venture with Fox Sports, though. 

"Him being in the booth is going to be awesome," he said. "You're gonna see a different side of him that is going to come out."

Given the Bears are coming off a tough 3-13 season, one wonders if No. 6 will have anything nice to say about this year's squad. 

"Hopefully he takes it easy on us, takes it easy on me," Miller joked. 

Fans, who were not known to take it easy on the highly paid QB, will see real quickly how Cutler treats his former team. Cutler's broadcasting debut will be on Aug. 27, when John Fox's team squares off against the Titans in Week 2 of the preseason. 

 

Contract signed, Bears tight end Adam Shaheen seeks more growth

Contract signed, Bears tight end Adam Shaheen seeks more growth

As the Bears announced their signing of second round draft pick Adam Shaheen Friday afternoon, it brought us back to CSN Chicago's visit with his position coach following the first day of rookie minicamp one week earlier. 

In addition to veteran Zach Miller and free agent signee Dion Sims, tight ends coach Frank Smith has another fairly "green" player at the position in Daniel Brown, who was converted from wide receiver by Baltimore a year ago, and showed signs of promise with 16 catches over the final six games after the Bears picked him up when the Ravens ran out of roster space last October. Former Southern Illinois tight end MyCole Pruitt was active the final two games (one reception) after Minnesota cut him in December.

Now, Shaheen and his huge size and upside, gets thrown into the on-field mix when organized team activities pick up steam at Halas Hall next week.

"The thing when you’re of that size, to control your body and move and be sudden in your routes, those are traits that he has possessed," said Smith. "Everything you saw on tape you’re starting to see, and just as he grows and we start adding more concepts, it’ll be exciting to see how he grasps that, and using his skillset as a player to fit in the offense."

Still, when you're 6'6, 277 lbs. and just three years into devoting yourself back to football, long striders like that sometimes lack a certain fluidity. And heck, the great Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots still sometimes lacks that look on the field too. The dance floor? That's different. But Smith knows his newest pupil is in the infant stages of a growing process, learning the intricacies of his trade at the highest level now.

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"There’s been guys from 1-AA, D-II, all those guys," Smith said. "I think the real expectation for him right now is learning his playbook, learning his techniques, because the volume of stuff will be a little bit more. But the expectation for him is just every day improve, work on one thing a day, work on a technique, and that will build your portfolio as you go forward."

Inquiring minds of Bears fans prefer an answer immediately on whether such a high investment from Ashland (the Ohio university, not the Chicago street or southwest side neighborhood) is worth it. It's a little early for that. But what about Shaheen's inquiring mind?

"At this point, any and all questions you're looking for," Smith said. "He's asking good questions, has a very good grasp of football, understands more than just what his play is. He understands for the most part what we're trying to do with concepts."

There is no question Shaheen now faces a step up in class and competition. But Smith believes the fact he was moved around within multiple sets in his college offense will help that process along.

"That actually follows with guys maybe from even 1-A who run a spread system, and they never put their hand in the dirt," he said. "So really, you could have a guy who played maybe at some major school, but they never played in-line tight end. So you have that background. So just knowing that every day, every challenge is - and I think this goes for anyone - is play each play.  Play each moment and work on your daily stuff that you’re trying to improve on with your game."

Bears sign tight end Adam Shaheen to four-year contract

Bears sign tight end Adam Shaheen to four-year contract

And then there was one.

The Bears signed tight end Adam Shaheen to a four-year contract on Friday afternoon, leaving quarterback Mitch Trubsiky as the only remaining unsigned member of their 2017 Draft class.

Shaheen, the 45th overall pick, hauled in 57 passes for 867 yards and 16 touchdowns at Division II Ashland in 2016. Shaheen was a two-time AFCA All-American during his time at Ashland.

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The 6-foot-6, 278 pound Shaheen began his collegiate career at Pittsburgh-Johnstown as a basketball player. He transferred to Ashland to play football in 2014.

Shaheen will likely head into training camp as the Bears' No. 3 tight end behind starter Zach Miller and backup Dion Sims.