Cutler says that McNair went out of his way to help the former Vanderbilt standout prepare for his official debut for NFL scouts.
Specifically, McNair helped Cutler get ready for his time at the Senior Bowl, and it was during the week of practice sessions that Cutler accelerated a draft-board climb that stopped at No. 11 overall.
McNair’s assistance was particularly useful because Cutler’s Senior Bowl team was coached by the Titans’ staff.
“Mac met with me on two occasions, and he would have stayed there with me all day, as long as it took for me to learn the offense. I’ll never forget that, and that just shows you the type of guy he was,” Cutler told Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “That was going to be a big step for me to go there and play well. Ever since then I have thought of him as a friend.”
Of course, the gesture might have been fueled by the fact that the two men had the same agent — Bus Cook. Still, McNair easily could have told Cook to find someone else to help Cutler.
“Mac was a great guy; he took time out for everybody,” Cutler said. “I always remember being out with him, and I’ve never seen him say no to a picture or an autograph. He was a guy that was always there for somebody, always there to lend a hand.”
The hand he lent to Cutler has helped him become the best of the first-round quarterbacks picked three years ago, with performances to date far superior to those of Matt Leinart (tenth overall) and McNair’s protege and successor, Vince Young (third overall).