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Bears re-sign Cutler; Bucs have a captain

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POSTED January 2, 2014 11:24 p.m.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — If the Bears make changes this offseason, it will not be at quarterback.

Chicago signed Jay Cutler to a seven-year contract Thursday, ending speculation they might make a change after five seasons of good and bad from their talented signal-caller. Cutler clearly thrived under first-year coach Marc Trestman and now has some of the best complements on offense he’s had since arriving in Chicago in 2009.

“It’s not always been easy,” Cutler said. “There’s been some ups and downs. There’s been some bad years there’s been some good years.  I think it makes me appreciate the moment I’m in even more, with the offensive weapons we have, with the type of leadership we have from the front office, with the type of coaching staff we have with the play calling and our (offensive) install. It makes me happy I’m here.”

The Bears also signed cornerback Tim Jennings, who has led the team in interceptions in each of the past two seasons, and guard Matt Slauson to four-year deals. Like Cutler, both players were scheduled to become free agents.

Cutler produced his career-best passer rating of 89.2 in 2013, although he played in just 11 games due to ankle and groin injuries. He completed 224 of 355 passes for 2,621 yards and 19 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.



Bucs finalize deal with Smith

The Buccaneers say Lovie Smith is the ideal man to coach Tampa Bay. The team made it official Thursday, announcing the one-time Tony Dungy protege who led the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl seven years ago finalized a five-year contract. The 55-year-old Smith replaces Greg Schiano, who was fired Monday following a 4-12 finish. The Bucs also dismissed general manager Mark Dominik, and the search for his successor continues.



Canton gets new president

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has hired David Baker as its new president and executive director.

Baker, an attorney and former commissioner of the Arena Football League, is the sixth director in the Hall’s 50-year history. Baker has spent 35 years working in business management, pro sports and in public service. He spent the past four years in the health care industry.



Ex-Vikings punter:

Coach made anti-gay remarks

Former Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe says the team’s special teams coordinator made anti-gay comments while Kluwe was with the Vikings. Kluwe wrote a scathing article on the website Deadspin on Thursday. In it, he alleges that coach Mike Priefer made several anti-gay comments in objection to Kluwe’s outspoken support of a gay marriage amendment in Minnesota.

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