Aaron Kromer makes tearful apology

ByMichael C. Wright ESPN logo
Friday, December 12, 2014

CHICAGO -- Multiple sources confirmed a published report Friday that detailed the depth of dysfunction at Halas Hall, with one Chicago Bears assistant coming away with the belief the latest revelation "might have just gotten us all whacked."

According to the Chicago Tribune, Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer made a tearful apology during a Monday meeting for criticizing quarterback Jay Cutler to an NFL Network reporter last week, which led to a report Sunday that the organization is feeling "buyer's remorse" after signing Cutler to a seven-year, $126.7 million contract on Jan. 2.

An NFL source who spoke to Cutler after Kromer's apology said the quarterback "certainly isn't happy."

The Tribune report cites sources as saying Kromer denied telling the NFL Network that the franchise had "buyer's remorse," and made it a point to inform players during the meeting that that portion of the report did not come from him.

The report states that Cutler was in the room during the meeting, and shook his head the whole time as Kromer apologized.

One NFL source familiar with Cutler has said the quarterback "doesn't trust anyone, [but is a] good guy when you can break down the walls."

Kromer reportedly admitted to venting about Cutler's play management, and the NFL Network's report mentioned growing displeasure internally with the quarterback's inability or downright refusal to check out of run plays that might not be the most advantageous at the time.

The latest revelation highlights the lack of trust throughout the organization, and the breach of trust between coach and quarterback led to an assistant's belief that Kromer's transgression could lead to the entire staff being let go.

Prior to this development, multiple sources within the organization were already questioning whether coach Marc Trestman had enough NFL experience to fall back on to right the ship in what has been a tumultuous season. There were also questions internally as to whether Trestman's leadership style was conducive to success in the NFL, as some staffers believe the coach hasn't been tough enough on players.

When general manager Phil Emery brought in the new coaching staff, he wanted to build stability around Cutler, who is currently playing for his second coach and fourth offensive coordinator -- and fourth system -- in six seasons with the Bears.

Cutler currently leads the league in turnovers (21), and opponents have scored 92 points off the team's 25 total turnovers.

"Jay and I talk daily," Trestman said of reports that there was talk about benching Cutler during the Nov. 23 game against Tampa Bay. "I think he has a very good understanding of how we feel about him. There's a lot of noise out there. We're all aware of that. You get away for a few days, you know how much noise there is out there because you're not working 24-7.

"Jay Cutler, as long as he's been healthy, has been the guy we've had in there and wanted to play. There's been no [indecision] there whatsoever."

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