Multiple reports say the Chicago Bears are benching quarterback Jay Cutler and going with Jimmy Clausen.
ESPN first reported Wednesday that the Bears were switching quarterbacks, with Clausen getting the nod over Cutler for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, citing sources, also reported the switch.
The Bears would not confirm the move.
Coach Marc Trestman said earlier Wednesday he was not getting the most out of Cutler, but he did not mention benching the quarterback. He did not reveal the switch when asked about “Monday Night Football” analyst Jon Gruden calling for Clausen to relieve Cutler during Chicago's loss to New Orleans.
“Jon certainly has a right to his opinion,” said Trestman, who for weeks defended Cutler's spot as the starter. “And each and every week we go through our evaluations all the way around and as I said, Jon's got a right to his opinion.”
Cutler is coming off what might have been his worst game of the season on Monday, completing 17 of 31 passes for 194 yards. He threw three interceptions and was sacked a season-high seven times in the 31-15 loss.
He leads the NFL with 18 interceptions and 24 turnovers, certainly not what the Bears envisioned when they signed him to a seven-year contract after last season — or when they hired Trestman two years ago.
The frustration has been mounting. Last week, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer admitted he was a source behind a recent NFL Network report criticizing Cutler.
Trestman arrived in Chicago with a reputation for getting the most out of quarterbacks. But it hasn't happened with Cutler this season.
“I think that's evident I haven't, up to this point,” said Trestman, when asked if he's gotten the most of Cutler. “Am I working at it? Yes. But we've seen moments, but we haven't done it on a consistent basis. I can't hide from that. I haven't been able and we haven't been able to do the thing that we want to get done. We're working toward that. But the answer to that is obvious.”
Michigan pursuing Harbaugh
Michigan is apparently making a serious run at Harbaugh to fill its open coaching position.
The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Harbaugh, a former Michigan quarterback, was offered $8 million a year to coach the Wolverines.
Alabama's Nick Saban is the highest paid coach in college football at just over $7 million a year.
"Jim Harbaugh has not yet told Michigan a definitive no," Rapoport said on NFL Network's "Around the NFL."
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton returned to practice eight days after a horrific-looking automobile accident left him with two fractures in his lower back. Whether or not he starts Sunday against the Cleveland Browns remains unclear. ... San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers didn't practice Wednesday, although he participated in a morning walkthrough and said he expects to play against the 49ers on Saturday night. ... Tennessee Titans running back Dexter McCluster won't play Thursday at Jacksonville because of a knee injury. The Jaguars are "leaning more toward playing" injured quarterback Blake Bortles, who sprained his right foot Sunday at Baltimore and has been limited during the team's light practices this week.