Jay Cutler — Human Being, or Pansy?

Jay Cutler

By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA

“Suck it up and play through it”. We’ve all heard the expression – the last time I did was about a month and a half ago from my father; I called him near tears because my foot hurt “so bad” and I had no idea what was wrong with it. He told me to wrap it up, tough it out, and call him in the morning if the pain got worse. If there’s one thing I learned from my father it’s that a little pain can’t keep you out of the game.

Or can it?

Last Sunday, in the NFC Championship game, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was sidelined with a knee injury. We now know that he suffered a sprained MCL. Throughout the game the exact details of the injury were a mystery, and my father wasn’t there to tell him to wrap it up and tough it out. Before Jay Cutler knew it, he had a media hailstorm on his hands. Twitter is blowin’ up questioning his toughness, sports talk radio is going ape shit, and ESPN just will – not– let – it –go. Every player in the NFL has got something to say about Cutler, even that third-stringer who no one has heard of is getting his fifteen minutes with a jab at Jay. Legendary coach Mike Ditka insists that it would take a paralyzing injury to remove him from a game. Not likely Ditka, but I appreciate you sticking to your Ditka-style of flair for the dramatic.

This got me thinking about watches. No, really, this will connect. Timex once had a slogan that was “Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking” and this seems to be the mentality that we, as fans, are applying to professional athletes as of late. If someone gets hurt they are almost expected to keep playing, keep pushing, keep extending themselves beyond their physical limitations. Many of them do it with great success; look at Tom Brady. Brady is always injured: shoulder problems, broken fingers, cracked ribs, and we’ve recently learned that he played nearly the entire 2010 season with a stress fracture in his foot. Curt Schilling, a la 2004, dominates the Yankees in the ALCS Championship Series as blood seeps out of his ankle sutures into the white cotton of his sock. Fans love that stuff, but at what price – the expense of a player’s physical health?

Look at Jacoby Ellsbury, early 2010, cracked ribs, big mess – he tried to come back too early and what happened? The injury ended up being season ending. Fans questioned his toughness. I’m not a baseball player, but if my ribs were cracked I’d stay home too, seriously. Do you think he enjoyed sitting on the bench? This is a guy who is on Web Gems almost every other week; I doubt it.

So, did Jay Cutler make the right decision to come out of the second biggest football game of the NFL Season? I don’t have the answer to that, but what I do know is that Cutler is not a watch, and I think that sometimes fans can forget that athletes are people too. I’m guilty of it myself. Yes he stood on the sideline, yes he was on the bike, but imagine he had gone back in and been hit again, which is likely, because this is football. What then – an injury that could take the entire off-season to repair, something devastating and career ending? It’s possible and then we would’ve wondered why he didn’t stay out. And as far as his facial expressions – you could call it “detached” or “uncaring” as most people have. But for a second consider that maybe it is disappointment or devastation, consider that maybe Cutler isn’t a piece of machinery, but a human.

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42 responses to “Jay Cutler — Human Being, or Pansy?

  1. I’m a little weary of this whole situation. I know that an MCL “sprain” is definitely not the same as a tear. That said, I think you’ve always got to look at the bigger picture in terms of your career, as Colt McCoy wisely did in college. All of that said, Cutler is a veteran QB who has had a hard time coming by any success in the NFL. I’d have expected him to stick it out if at all possible.

    • j-bone

      Actually as your resident howigit MD, a sprain and a “tear” are the same thing the difference is the degree of the tear.

      I think Cutler needs to watch the Replacements again. Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lasts forever.

      If Cutler wasn’t such a princess for his whole career maybe he would get the benefit of the doubt.

      • Gotcha. Glory is great, isn’t it? I think where Cutler is really hurt is his head, not his knee. All those interceptions have to wear on you. Perhaps we should dub this disease eli-itis?

  2. A. Rab Money

    As someone who currently has a similar knee injury, which will be surgically repaired in the next week, I can truly say that it is something that can be tolerated and played through. I have had this injury well over a month and still been playing basketball regularly since it occurred in late November. While I have been weary of further injuring myself, knowing I will get the surgery soon has kept me confident that I will be able to make a full recovery once the surgery and rehab are complete. In a game of this magnitude the right decision would have been to strap it on and get back on the field. I’m not one to criticize Cutler for remaining on the sideline, but personally I would have been out there, as would most NFL players in the same situation.

    Do you always feel the need to bring Eli into every conversation? It seems like you have some undying complex about him and that you continually try to make up for him beating Tom in the Superbowl. Well guess what, no matter what you say about him I could care less, the memory of him driving the Giants to victory in that game will last far beyond any obnoxious comment you can ever make.

    • As will the memories of his interceptions, which directly relates him to Jay Cutler. My comments are not obnoxious, but rather based on the facts. Eli turned the ball over more than anyone in the NFL this year, so calling an interception disease eli-itis is actually quite logical. Many diseases have been named in similar fashion.

    • j-bone

      I agree, your Eli complex is starting to get creepy.

      Can we start calling system qb’s that start of real hot and then significantly cool with time Brady-istis?

      • When being names pro bowl starter, going 14-2, and throwing 36 td’s with 4 interceptions is cooling that’s pretty awesome. That’s all I have to say about that.

      • j-bone

        So is crapping the bed in the playoffs two years in a row, you what those numbers and resume sound alot like, Peyton Manning.

      • I agree, except Brady’s done the Peyton Manning thing and won championships. And he’s losing with a defense with a bunch of 25 year olds, not good defenses as Peyton has lost with.

      • j-bone

        I think you should go take a look at the defenses Mannings played with vs what Brady has played with

      • Brady’s in his championship years were fantastic, no doubt about it. Peyton’s were way better than people give them credit for though. People feared the defensive line in particular.

  3. Kevin Youkillis

    I blame the doctor’s/coaches.. not exactly sure how the whole thing went down (the extent of the injury and whatnot) but as soon as it was made clear he wasn’t going back into the game you put him in street clothes, slap on a brace and give him some crutches.. then there is no issue. I also have sprained my acl and mcl and after a few days i was able to walk but there was no way i could have played that day anymore. Then again i was 13 years old. After a few days it didnt necessarily hurt while jogging even but if i were to plant my foot i went down in a heap of pain.

    I dont mind the tweets from the players, it gives me some insight into their stupid and sometimes hilarious brains and makes them feel more human to me. I think it was unprofessional of them to say what they did about cutler but they should be able to and i will enjoy it.

    As for ARAB unless you plan on being a pro athlete, forget the knee surgery my friend.. like you said, you can do everything on it now..

  4. j-bone

    In their careers Manning has had a top ten defense twice, Brady 6 times. “People feared the defensive line” you are better then that, bring numbers not imaginary people.

    • That should be more than sufficient with Peyton’s far superior skill set. In fact, he shouldn’t need anything beyond a middle of the road defense because he’s so much better than Brady. Clearly not true. Brady WILL go down as the best of our generation. The sooner you accept that fact, the easier your life will be.

      • j-bone

        Big Ben is making a pretty big push, Aaron Rodgers looks pretty strong as well.

      • Ben is one championship away. He also has had amazing defenses, which you can’t argue. His numbers are also not half as good. Aaron Rodgers does not belong in the convo. As of now he has no championships, and one season where he squeaked into the playoffs. Once he wins 3 he can come talk to Tom.

  5. j-bone

    Bradys first 6 years average: 24.5 tds, 13 int, 7.0 yards per attempt, 226 yards per game, 88.4 qb rating, 61.9 completion precentage.

    Ben first 6 years average: 21 td, 13.5 int, 8.1 yard/attempt, 220 yards/game, 92.5 qb rating, 62.8 completion percentage.

    That looks pretty even, not even close to half as good.

    • j-bone

      I forgot Bradys big * for knowing pre snap plays

    • Similar numbers, true. But while we’re talking about Brady and Peyton not having similar defenses, lets talk about Ben and Brady not having similar offenses. In his first 6 years in the league, Pittsburgh had 17 offensive pro bowl selections (only 1 of which was Ben himself). Take a guess how many the Patriots had?

      • j-bone

        Take Alan Faneca out of that the number drops to 11, take Hines Ward out the number drops to 6.

        Are you really resulting to pro bowl voting, done largly by fans, and when players are hurt and could not play dont count? If you want to talk about pro bowls, Brady has played in 3, not very impressive.

        Take a look at the All-Pro, which is the best players at their position voted by a none ballot box stuffing AP, Brady in his career has played with 6, Ben 1.

      • Not in his first 6 years in the league, which is what you mentioned, and not on the offensive side of the ball. Brady never won a championship with a receiver even close to Hines Ward, not to mention the running backs Ben has had.

      • j-bone

        Yes because he had a top ten defense, we can keep talking in circles. what I think this shows is Brady is a huge product of the system that he is in. When his defense is very good he wins championships, when he is given weapons he puts up gaudy number. It says alot about him that he can manage a game or dominate depending on the situation. But to be the best player of all time, you have to be the best player of all time at all times. Not putting up middle of the pack numbers, having a great defense, and the best coach in league to get your championships, and then getting weapons but not winning anything with them. You seem to pick and choose when championships count or big numbers count, I would rather a guy who does both at all times. You put Brady on the Colts they are not winning any more championships, you put Manning on the Pats they may win more.

      • I completely disagree. I think it speaks volumes that Brady was able to win championships with no offensive weapons besides himself. Sure, his defense was great, but he got it done on the offensive end with nothing. When he did get some offensive players around him, his numbers were suddenly on par or better than Peyton’s, whose had Hall of Fame receivers, great TE’s, and at times good running backs around him. You put Manning on the Patriots, and all of a sudden he doesn’t have anyone to throw to like he’s used to. Let alone the fact that there’s no guarantee he’d pull off the game winning drives in the clutch that Brady has. Of course you’d prefer a player who does it all at all times. Brady is the closest thing to that there is. Michael Jordan didn’t win championships on a team with horrible defense. You shouldn’t expect Brady to either, or anyone for that matter.

      • j-bone

        Corey Dillon in 2004, Bradys last super bowl season averaged ,109 yards a game and had 12 touchdowns. That ypg would have been tops in the league this year and 12 touchdowns would have been 4th. 2004 is the only year the Pats were in the top ten in offense and won the super bowl.
        Edgerin James had one season better then that in his career.

        Another way to look at it is Deon Branch, Branch put up the same numbers he did with Brady then Hasselbeck, so he didn’t make him better. Meanwhile Marvin Harrisons touchdown numbers more then double after Manning started throwing the ball to him.

        Manning makes hall of famers, Brady depends on hall of fame coaches and defenses.

      • First of all, Branch’s numbers aren’t the same. And who was throwing to Marvin before Peyton? Look at the average rushing yards for Peyton’s RB’s and Brady’s. It’s not close. Ask Wes Welker if Brady made him better. Ask Branch. Ask Randy Moss. Ask anyone who has played with him, including the rookies on his team this year.

      • j-bone

        Branches averages 3.5 touchdowns a year in both cities, Moss in Minnesota had years with more catches, yards, and a better average. Who is throwing to Marvin, not Peyton thats the difference.

        The Patriots since 2002 have had rushing yards in the top ten in the league- 2 times, 10-20 4 times, 20-30 3 times. The colts 1-10- o times, 10-20- 5 times, 20-30 4 times.

        The next time I talk to those guys I will make sure I ask, meanwhile i will keep bringing cold hard numbers to counter your arguments.

      • It does make a difference, as Matt Hasselbeck is no slouch. The TD numbers are similar, yes. You don’t need to talk to them, listen to any press conference with players who have played with Brady. He turned welcome from nothing into the NFL’s leading reciever. He set the TD record with Randy. Those are numbers as well. Damn good ones.

      • j-bone

        Hasselbeck is not really a slouch but you would think the best football player of all time would not be putting the same numbers up with his number one reciever.

        Any comments on the so called lack of running game, when apparently Peyton had a combination of Walter Peyton and Barry Sanders

      • I never said he had a combination of Barry Sanders blah blah blah. I said he’s consistently had better recievers, a better RB, and better TE’s.

  6. A. Rab Money

    why did this turn into another brady vs the world arguement, yet again? who the hell cares? he is out of the playoffs and has now lost 3 straight playoff games.

    Kevin, Im opting for surgery because I do not want to live with pain and discomfort fro the rest of my life. While i am able to do most physical activity, it does not mean there is no pain. Also I deal with pain on a daily basis while working and even relaxing at times, this is why i surgery is the right move. And it is hard to say how much pain cutler was in, and if it was bad enough to not play, but seeing him riding the bike and not wincing in pain made it appear that it was manageable enough to play the second half. Sure there would be significant pain on hard plants or cuts, or when getting hit, but this is what we expect from football players. It is exactly that which makes us non athletes admire and adore these pros so much.

    • j-bone

      He also went out to dinner after the loss with 12 people and took the stairs when there was an elevator, he may have been hurt but it doesn’t look like he “gets” being an NFL qb.

    • Kevin Youkillis

      well a-rab it is your knee and your life .. do what you please (im sure you are glad you now have my blessing).. i partially tore my acl and mcl and opted not to have surgery but have been fine for years except the occassional swelling and slight pain if i drive for a while, but thats me. everyone is different, including mr. cutler.

      and Cutler went out to dinner with his girlfriend kristin cavallari, i know our fellow commentor, Williams, is familiar with her.. she is hot, i would walk anywhere for her.. but i agree going to dinner was dumb.. the world will never probably know what exactly went on with that injury.

      jbone you summed it up quite well.. he just doesnt seem to quite get it.

  7. Alan Weeks

    I have had two ACL replacements, so I am quite the authority on human knees. That said, a sprain is quite different from a tear. But this sprain could have easily turned into a tear if he had been hit right. I got my first tear from football, and my second one jumping a fence while hammered drunk. I’ll tell you one thing, the first tear, I stopped playing in the football game. The second tear, I kept drinking. Jay Cutler is a wus, and an easy to hate athlete, but he is these things even without last Sunday’s game. My knee aches every day, even after full recovery, and I can tell you, Jay is too big of a wimp to handle that for the rest of his life, so good for him for staying out of the game.

  8. Torin D

    It was reported that it was a second degree sprain…the same as a tear (ESPNs words, not mine). It was additionally reported that Coach Smith removed Cutler from the game because he could not plant on his back leg and threw the ball high due to the sprain. Ergo, his being a wuss or not is not in question. Perhaps the coach was taking up for his sissy QB or he was protecting him for the future (Cutler is still young). Either way, Manning is still better than Brady.

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