LAKE FOREST, Ill. Steve Rucchin Jersey . -- If the Bears make changes this off-season, it will not be at quarterback. Chicago signed Jay Cutler to a seven-year contract Thursday, ending speculation they might make a change after five seasons of good and bad from their talented signal-caller. Cutler clearly thrived under first-year coach Marc Trestman and now has some of the best complements on offence hes had since arriving in Chicago in 2009. "Its not always been easy," Cutler said. "Theres been some ups and downs. Theres been some bad years theres been some good years. I think it makes me appreciate the moment Im in even more, with the offensive weapons we have, with the type of leadership we have from the front office, with the type of coaching staff we have with the play calling and our (offensive) install. It makes me happy Im here." The Bears also signed cornerback Tim Jennings, who has led the team in interceptions in each of the past two seasons, and guard Matt Slauson to four-year deals. Like Cutler, both players were scheduled to become free agents. General manager Phil Emery said the team and Cutlers agent, Bus Cook, completed contract discussions three days after the season ended Sunday with a 33-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers in a game that decided the NFC North title. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal for the 30-year-old Cutler is reportedly worth nearly $18 million per year over the first three years and includes at least $50 million guaranteed. "I think whenever you have two groups who want to work in the same direction and want the same thing to happen it can happen relatively pretty easily," Emery said. Cutler produced his career-best passer rating of 89.2 in 2013, although he played in just 11 games due to ankle and groin injuries. He completed 224 of 355 passes for 2,621 yards and 19 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. Emery said he was sold on Cutlers return after seeing him in Trestmans offence early in the season. "After the first three games I definitely knew it was going in the right direction in terms of him putting the team in position to win games at the end of the game," Emery said. "That says a lot about the player. I think that Jays third-down passing and fourth-quarter quarterback rating are very high and have been high for a while. He was in the top 10 in both areas this year. I think it speaks of a guy that can be a guy, a player, that is a reason you win." Still, Emery said he wanted to see how Cutler responded to some adversity. He saw it when Cutler came back from a groin strain to face the Detroit Lions in a 21-19 loss and from an ankle sprain to beat the Cleveland Browns 38-31. "How he handled the situation coming back from his second injury and the tremendous pressure that was on him because of the decision we had made to reinstate him as the starter, how he handled that as a person, pregame, game, within the game, after throwing a couple of picks, coming back and being a reason that you win the game," Emery said. "How he handled the Packers and Lions ... thats when I finalized the decision." Cutler feuded with former offensive co-ordinators like Ron Turner, Mike Martz and Mike Tice, but he has steadily climbed the franchise statistical charts and guided the Bears to the NFC championship game in 2010. Under Trestman, he seemed to gain a new lease on life. "The mindset is right and the talent in the locker room is right, so Im happy to be joining the rest of the guys, the rest of the coaches, the rest of the organization in pursuit of a championship," Cutler said. Cutler wouldnt call money the key reason for staying out of free agency, citing familiarity with Trestmans offence as a big factor. He has only been in the same offence for consecutive years a few times in his NFL career, which started in 2006. Trestman found Cutler ran his offence efficiently, even if he had a reputation as a big-play, big-mistake type of player. "Hes been through a lot," Trestman said. "I mean, part of whats brought him to this point is the scars of the last five years and the adversity that hes gone through in getting to know himself better over the last five years. I saw selflessness. I certainly saw mental toughness. When you evaluate a quarterback, you say, does he have an inventory of passes? Can he make all the throws? Does he have mobility? Is he a quick decision maker? Jay has all that." The Bears tabled a few major defensive questions, including the fate of defensive co-ordinator Mel Tucker and whether they should stick with a 4-3 scheme. Trestman and Emery did acknowledge the numerous injuries Tucker dealt with his first season. The Bears lost Pro Bowlers Henry Melton, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, as well as middle linebacker D.J. Williams, for big chunks of the season. "I will just tell you were going to be a younger defence," Emery said. "The draft will be focused in that area." Nor would Trestman or Emery rule out the switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme. "Everything is on the table in terms of a discussion," Trestman said. "Phil said it: Were going to get younger. Part of our decisions and how we move forward schematically will be based on the players that are in our locker room." Max Comtois Jersey . - Maxence Parrot of Bromont, Que. Michael Del Zotto Jersey . Abduraimova had not won a tour-level match since 2009 but was a wild-card entry in Tashkent and broke her opponent twice in each set to reach the second round. Second-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania advanced easily by beating Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine 6-3, 6-1, while No.TORONTO – Amid the pomp and circumstance of the home opener, the great Roy Halladay throwing out the ceremonial first pitch and the major league debut of Yankees phenomenon Masahiro Tanaka, it could be easy to lose the significance of Dustin McGowans role in Friday nights festivities. Yet there he was, toeing the rubber to throw the first pitch of the first inning for the first time since September 26, 2011. Even greater an accomplishment, considering his significant injury history, is that McGowan is healthy to begin a season for the first time since 2008. Not many pitchers undergo three shoulder surgeries and another on a knee and continue to throw in the best league in the world. McGowan is a rare exception. Hes allowing himself to enjoy the experience but not enough to distract him from the task at hand. "I have a little bit but the last few days, my focus has been on what Ive got to do to get the Yankees out," McGowan told TSN.ca. "It feels like Ive got a lot of stuff going on in my head but thats part of it. Im ready." The shoulder surgeries chronicle like this: in 2008, to repair fraying of the labrum; two years later, in 2010, to repair a torn rotator cuff; in 2012, an arthroscopic procedure. McGowan underwent the knee surgery in 2009. Yet there he was on April 4, 2014, starting Torontos first home game of the season. His wife Jilly and their two children were in attendance. At the time McGowan spoke to TSN.ca, he was trying to arrange for his brother-in-law to be in the crowd, too. The result matters because the game counts in the standings. But in its own way, the fact McGowan is on the mound in the first place, the fact he went to the Blue Jays late last season and told them he wanted to take one more shot at being a starting pitcher and the fact he achieved the goal seems just as important as the result itself. "To be honest with you, I am," manager John Gibbons said, admitting to surprise. "All hes been throughh, hes defying all the odds really. Sergei Fedorov Jersey . So many guys thats happened to disappear and then to be able to maintain most of it, I mean hes not popping it like he once did but theres still plenty there." There really is no plan for McGowan because nobody knows what lies ahead. Hes tired of being asked how his shoulder feels after every bullpen session and each outing but those are important questions. The Blue Jays intend to monitor McGowans innings for as long as this experiment goes. The club, should it choose, could utilize its three April off days to push McGowan back, giving him extra off days in between appearances. If his shoulder starts to ache, or "bark" as players often say, McGowans bosses want to hear about it. "Ive told him multiple times, any concerns at all, youre not doing this for us, youre doing this because you want to do it," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "He had no problems at all last year. We would have loved to have been able to stretch him out but we werent in a position to do it." Halladay tosses ceremonial first pitch It was an all-too-familiar scene: the great Roy Halladay back on the mound for the home opener in Toronto. But he wasnt in full uniform and he only had the ceremonial first pitch to deliver. It was a strike. "Its pretty cool to be back," said Halladay. "It doesnt seem that long ago when you walk in. It feels like I was just here. Its exciting. Im enjoying retirement but this is pretty cool to be able to come back here." Halladay has settled in the Tampa Bay area and went to the Jays season opener against the Rays on Monday at the behest of his son. He worried that sitting in the stands would be uncomfortable so soon after his retirement. "I had my doubts," said Halladay. "But, honestly, I enjoyed it and I have no regrets, no disappointments. Im actually really happy with the choice I made and it was the right choice I made." ' ' '