Bucs' Cameron Brate 'a huge Jay Cutler fan'
Bucs tight end Cameron Brate will be all business Sunday as the Bears come to town, but he'll also admit he grew up a huge Chicago fan -- especially quarterback Jay Cutler -- as he grew up in the Chicago suburb of Naperville.
"When I signed here, the background on my phone was Jay Cutler," Brate said Wednesday. "I'm a huge Jay Cutler fan."
Brate said former Bucs quarterback Josh McCown, who had played with the Bears, saw Brate's phone with Cutler his rookie year and gave him grief about the crush. Brate played against his hometown team last season -- his career-long catch remains a 46-yarder he had in the Bucs' loss to Chicago -- and said it will be fun to face a team he grew up rooting for.
"It was pretty cool being able to go up against them," Brate said. "We did it last year too. It doesn't really add anything to the game. I'm kind of over the fact that it was my childhood team, but it's still pretty cool."
Brate actually won't be the only former Harvard tight end in the game, as the Bears have rookie Ben Braunecker, who has one catch for 8 yards this season. Brate said all his friends and family back home in Naperville remain big Bears fans, and he'll do his best to disappoint them Sunday.
"They'll get a chance to watch me on TV at least," he said.
Brate has already reset his career highs in just eight games this season with 28 catches for 291 yards and four touchdowns -- the four TDs is tied for the most among NFL tight ends. He's on pace to challenge the Bucs record for touchdown catches by a tight end -- eight, by Jimmie Giles in 1985.
Before Cutler, Brate said he was a big fan of Bears linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and tight end Greg Olsen. Asked if he would approach Cutler to meet him or shake hands in warmups before the game, Brate said he'll keep a distance.
"Too intimidating," he said. "He's a superstar."