After being on the receiving end of a cheap shot from Tim Dobbins, Jay Cutler kept on playing, despite the concussion, before finally being taken out of the game. After his concussion on Sunday night it’s 3 and 9. He didn’t see anyone open so he just ran up the middle for 11 yards and the first down. No slide; just running till a defender brought him down.
Shortly after, Jason Campbell took the field, and did a decent job. When backup quarterbacks are concerned, the Bears have one of the best options in the NFL, where even having a decent starting man for the job isn’t something you can take for granted. Jay Cutler just went through the sixth documented concussion of his college and pro career. Even if he’s cleared by doctors and the NFL policy on concussions, he should sit the next one out.
Cutler has been accused of being soft, more than once. Especially during the 2010 playoffs, leaving the field in the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers after the first offensive series of the third quarter. It seems that all the notions and perceptions regarding Cutler and his attitude revolve around this one game and moment.
After the game, he was blasted by current and former players for his attitude, passion and what not, for not returning to the game despite his knee injury. A day later, it was revealed he had sprained his MCL. While the game of football is a dangerous one even if you’re 120% healthy and fit stepping on the field, someone as targeted and exposed to hits as a quarterback shouldn’t be on the field with that kind of injury. Green Bay Packers players, along with his own teammates, stepped up to defend Cutler and the decision to leave him out.
Next season, 2011: Jay Cutler leads the Bears to a 7-3 start, before he and Matt Forte both go down to injury. Cutler breaks his thumb against the San Diego Chargers and misses the last six games of the season. The Bears lose five straight without him, finishing the season at 8-8, missing the playoffs.
What people remembered mostly about Culter from last season is his relationship with Mike Martz, who he felt was personally responsible for making it so easy for rival pass rushers to get to him, and the famous “Tell him I said f@#$ him!” line from the game against the New Orleans Saints.
This season? Cutler has been sacked 28 times this season, the fifth highest number in the NFL. He was caught yelling at an offensive linesman during the loss to the Green Bay Packers, with Cutler getting crushed 7 times. Cutler comes off as someone who doesn’t care about the media and fans, or at least what they think of him. He shouldn’t.
Because with almost everything he does, he shows he cares about winning and doing what’s best for the team first and foremost. Playing injured, seriously injured, isn’t helping neither him or the Chicago Bears, who have a good enough backup to fill in for him. People might think they need Cutler to prove to them he’s good enough to get the Bears to a second Super Bowl title, but he doesn’t owe them risking his livelihood and from what we know about concussions and the future of retired NFL players who took too many hits to the head, he doesn’t owe them his life.