By Chris Emma–

(CBS) It’s the end of an era in Chicago.

The Bears have granted quarterback Jay Cutler his release, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, a move that can become official at 3 p.m. Thursday when the new league year starts. It will make Cutler a free agent and marks the end of a run in which Cutler was the team’s starting quarterback for the past eight years, posting a 51-51 record in that time (52-52 with the playoffs included).

In early January, the Bears reportedly informed Cutler of their intent to seek trade partners, but they never found a team willing to part with an asset for him.

Cutler, who turns 34 in April, posted 154 touchdowns, 109 interceptions and an 85.2 quarterback rating while making 102 starts as a Bear. He played just one full 16-game season in Chicago, his first in 2009.

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