NFL

Cutler: Thumb fine, ready to return

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CHICAGO (AP)

Quarterback Jay Cutler says his right thumb is fine and he can't wait to return to lead a significantly upgraded Bears offense.

Cutler said he's recovered from offseason surgery to repair the fractured thumb. He suffered the injury late last November against San Diego while making a tackle on Antoine Cason, who had just picked off the Bears quarterback.

''It's fine,'' he said Monday. ''I really didn't throw a lot in the offseason, rehabbed a little bit and came back and felt good.''

He talked both football and diabetes awareness during an appearance at a school promoting screening and treatment among young people.

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes following his second NFL season, the seventh-year pro oversees a foundation dedicated to raising the profile of the disease.

''Diabetes is something I don't wish upon anybody,'' Cutler said during an hour-long visit to Perspectives Charter School Calumet Campus. ''But if you do get it, it doesn't have to hold you back at all.''

Cutler is looking forward to a pair of significant reunions when the Bears open training camp this summer at Olivet Nazarene University.

He finally has a go-to target again with old friend and former Broncos teammate, Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

''It's going to be fun,'' he said. ''We know what Brandon is, and we'll get Matt (Forte) back at some point. We've got the makings of a good offense, but a lot remains to be seen.''

Veteran running back Forte is currently unsigned and has missed offseason training sessions. But Cutler believes Forte will be back by the season opener.

''I rest easy at night knowing Matt's a true professional,'' Cutler said. ''He's going to come in and he's not going to miss a beat.''

Cutler will also work with new quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who had a similar run with Cutler for three seasons in Denver. Bates is looking for a mobile quarterback who can successfully maneuver out of the pocket.

''We're doing a lot of stuff we were successful with in Denver, going back to look at all that film and try to incorporate the stuff we've done here in the past,'' he said. ''So it's a lot of give and take.''

New offensive coordinator Mike Tice is striving to make the whole thing work, which Cutler called a fun process.

''Mike Tice is organizing and managing it all and putting it in a book,'' Cutler said. ''Mike makes it very enjoyable and Brandon Marshall out there makes it fun. We've got a really great group of guys and it's fun to go to work.''

Cutler, who said early diabetes diagnosis and treatment can help kids maintain an active lifestyle, said he's managing his own condition.

''I've got a good grasp of it,'' he said. ''It's a daily process, it's a daily grind. There's good days and bad days and you want to limit your bad days as much as possible.

During his appearance at Perspective, located in a poor, predominantly African-American neighborhood, Cutler observed diabetes testing by personnel from CVS's MinuteClinic and chatted with and signed autographs for high school-age students.

''I think education is the most powerful tool,'' he said. ''If we can educate kids at a young age of what to eat, what not to eat and exercise, there's a lot of things they can be doing even if they are in a tough situation.''

Monday's screening sessions paid off for at least one student.

''They found one kid who's at high risk for diabetes,'' Cutler said. ''So that makes it all worth it.''

Tagged: Bears, Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte

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