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Jay Cutler Retires, Sorta Joins NFL on FOX

5/5/2017 6:31 AM PDT

Jay Cutler Retires Sort Of, Joins NFL on FOX

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Jay Cutler is officially pulling a Tony Romo -- leaving the football field for the broadcast booth ... but he won't say he's officially retired from the NFL.

The 34-year-old ex-Chicago Bears QB has signed on to join the NFL on FOX team this upcoming season as a color commentator ... reportedly replacing John Lynch, who is now running the 49ers. 

Cutler issued a statement kind of explaining where he is in life right now ... but not officially announcing his retirement.

"I don't know if retirement is the right word; I don't feel that anyone ever retires from the NFL," Cutler said.

"You are either forced to leave, or you lose the desire to do what's required to keep going. I'm in between those situations at this point in my life."

Cutler was released by the Bears this off-season -- and while he reportedly spoke with other teams, didn't sign a new contract. 

"Words can't express how grateful I am to everyone who helped me along my journey," Cutler added in his statement.

"To my parents, my sisters, my wife and kids – thank you for putting your wants and needs on the back burner while I played a game every Friday, Saturday or Sunday. You made it all possible."

"I recently read a quote that struck a cord with me at the time. It was attributed to Henry Rollins (but with the internet these days, you can never be too sure.) 'I did that, I gave everything I had to that. Now, if I returned to that it would be repetition- it might be fun repetition, but it wouldn’t be meaningful repetition.' Thank you to everyone along the way. You made my dream come true."

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