After the Chicago Bears were ousted by the Green Bay Packers you would think the story would have been about the Super Bowl. Well that was not the case, Jay Cutler left the game with a “knee sprain” and watched on the sideline as his team fell to Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. The minute Cutler came out he started to draw extreme criticism from former players, current players, and fans on Twitter, Facebook and other media outlets.
Here are various quotes and tweets from players who criticized Cutler during the game, remember that these tweets were written during the game before the extent of his injury was known.
NFL Network Analyst
“I’m telling u in the playoffs u must drag me off the field. All the medicine in pro locker rooms this dude comes out! I apologize bear fans! … Folks i never question a players injury but i do question a players heart.
Former Bucaneers, Linebacker
“BEARS fans I am so SORRY, I have to be crawling and cant get up to come off field,Josh Freeman would not come out, MEDS ARE AVAILABLE.”
“HEY there is no medicine for a guy with no guts and heart.”
Cardinals, Defensive Lineman
“If I’m on Chicago team Jay Cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room!”
Seahawks, Defensive End
“Cutler u little siSsy…how does it feel that ur back up’s backup is the only 1 that can put pts on the board!I bet cutler comes back now!”
“Cutler…wut a sissy! This is the NFC Championship game! Guaranteed if it was brett farve..he would still be in the game!”
“As a guy how had 20 knee surgeries you’d have to drag me out on a stretcher to Leave a championship game!”
I will say that I am not a Jay Cutler fan, and I don’t have a problem with NFL players both current and former giving their opinion. They should know just as much as anyone how it feels to play hurt, and what various injuries prevent a player from doing. But the truth is they only came out that hard in public because it was Jay Cutler, and he already has the perception that he is a jackass working against him. If Tom Brady or Peyton Manning did the same thing you would not have heard a peep out of these players because Manning and Brady look like they care and show more emotion than Cutler.
The fact that cutler has diabetes could be a factor in his demeanor, and those players forget to take that into account. Then the average fan crushing Cutler for not being tough is even worse because the average fan does not have a clue about what it takes to play in the NFL. Cutler plays on the hardest surface in the NFL eight games a year behind the worst offensive line in football which saw him sacked 57 times this year. Let’s see Joe couch Potato stand up after all of that.
What if Cutler did keep playing on a sparained (partially torn) knee, and 327 pound Packers Defensive Tackle B.J. Raji comes through and hits the knee again? That could turn into a devastating injury and possibly be career threatening, so all this mess about toughness people forget that Cutler is an asset to the Bears and you only risk your assets when it’s worth it.
In this case it is unclear if Cutler would have even been effective playing injured, so Lovie Smith had to make the best decision for his team which was to sit Cutler. As for Mark Schlereth specifically, his criticism of Cutler makes no sense. He always talks about his 20 knee surgeries, and I am sure if you ask him if he would have rather had 19 he would have said yes. Surgeries are not a badge of courage as the NFL is not the military, and maybe if Schlereth would have stopped playing when he was injured and followed medical advice he could have avoided all of those surgeries. Let’s see if he still brags about those surgeries in about 10 – 15 years.
Ultimately, Cutler could help avoid this type of criticism if he was a bit more personable, but he has never relished in the role of a leader. Cutler just wants to show up, play quarterback, and head home to hang out with his friends. It’s the type of life reserved for normal people and not a star NFL quarterback, so he is going to have to find a medium between being good with the media and keeping his privacy. It’s a difficult thing to do, but comes with playing that position in the NFL.