Coach says relationship is salvageable

Updated: March 24, 2009, 8:38 AM ET
Associated Press

DANA POINT, Calif. -- The Denver Broncos may be listening to offers for disgruntled quarterback Jay Cutler at the NFL owners meetings this week. If coach Josh McDaniels has his way, though, they'll try to work things out to keep Cutler in Denver.

"He's our quarterback. We can't predict the future. He's our quarterback, we want him to be our quarterback, we made that very clear to him and we hope he feels the same way," McDaniels told the NFL Network on Monday, a day before he speaks publicly about the feud for the first time.

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McDaniels reiterated that trade talks never reached owner Pat Bowlen's desk, a sign that the issue never got to the serious stage.

"Conversations were had and we've never denied that, but at the same time it's our job to look at every opportunity that we can to see if it's something that could improve our football team, and that's what we were doing," McDaniels said.

Their relationship was strained when McDaniels failed to inform his Pro Bowl quarterback before trying to trade him for Matt Cassel, whom he tutored as New England's offensive coordinator last year. Cutler asked for a trade through his agent after two meetings failed to soothe his hurt feelings.

McDaniels has said he'd rather meet face to face with Cutler again to try to patch their differences before seriously considering dealing the 25-year-old passer who set several franchise records last season.

"I know it's been a very public issue and this is something that I think happens more than people realize. We have a relationship, nobody knows where it stands right now, but it's going to get better," McDaniels said. "It will continue to get better, I believe that. I think it's something that both parties have to work toward a solid resolution. We have a good nucleus of players there that are looking forward to seeing him back at the facility and working with him. It will get to that point at some point in the near future."

Of their strained relationship, McDaniels said: "I absolutely feel that it is not irreparable."

Cutler skipped McDaniels' first team meeting last week and hasn't participated in the team's offseason program, which is voluntary. He has said he'll show up for a mandatory minicamp April 17-19 if he's still a member of the Broncos.

Cutler is halfway through the six-year, $48 million contract he signed as the 11th overall pick out of Vanderbilt in the 2006 draft. He's 17-20 as Broncos starter, although that's misleading because of Denver's dismal defenses. He's 13-1 in games in which Denver held its opponents under 21 points.

McDaniels is scheduled to address the matter with reporters Tuesday.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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