January 24, 2011

Chicago Cutler-y

In case you haven't figured it out yet, here in the SPH, we are BIG TIME Bears fans. They're my team- always have been, always will be.

Everyone knows it's a big joke for Chicago fans regarding our inability to secure solid quarterbacks. What else is new? Well, I for one am a Jay Cutler fan, and fan or not, I have a few thoughts on the turn of events that transpired yesterday in the Bears demise against the Packers.

So, Cutler was injured towards the end of the second quarter. The replays show a mechanism of injury that screams MCL involvement {hopefully isolated}, which some sources are reporting. Regardless of what comes to light with the MRI results, I think a lot of people owe Jay Cutler an apology.

I took to facebook last night and stated, "I'd like to give Cutler the benefit of the doubt ... I have seen countless athletes continue to stand/walk/attempt to play on knees with torn ligaments. If he/they felt he was a liability to his team rather than an asset, he should have been pulled. I must say, I`m feeling a little sorry for Jay tonight and all the terrible things being said about his integrity."

Look, I have no doubt that Cutler's injured. There's plenty to be said about his demeanor and facial expressions and perceived level of interest during games. I get it. I think he, just like everyone else, has his own temperament. Qualities and characteristics that may be unusual for a star NFL QB, but that's just the way he is. If he was gung-ho crazy excited during every other game and sullen and dejected looking yesterday, there'd be room to talk. Pretty sure he's like that all the time. Maybe it's something he needs to work on as a leader of his team, but it's nothing new. Maybe he suffers from a social anxiety disorder? Maybe he just needs to work on staying more positive and engaged? Doesn't mean he's a coward or a quitter.

I am a bit floored at the slew of unprofessional, judgemental comments shared by many current and former NFL players yesterday. You can read some here.

I felt so bad for Cutler during the press conferences yesterday. I wanted to give him a hug when he said no comment to questions regarding his toughness and integrity. He looked so sad. Can you even imagine what it feels like to have your character questioned in that way, especially if you knew you were not ready to play at a level that you were being called to play at?

I think it's a players responsibility, with insight from coaches and training staff, to know when enough is enough. Everyone's criticizing him for leaving the NFC Championship game. In my opinion, it's extra important to make the unselfish call in a game of this magnitude. How selfish would it have been for him to continue to play, knowing he wasn't close to 100%, and risk the advancement of his team to the Superbowl?

Maybe it would have helped his cause to flop around on the field and scream and cry and be carted off, but for what? It wasn't necessary. That's not within his character, either. More than I can say for some athletes...

The comments about him standing and walking and riding the stationary bike obviously stem from ignorance. Anyone who knows a lick about knee injuries will know that's nothing out of the ordinary. And, every person responds to knee injuries differently. Let's look at ACL tears- for every person who drops like a fly and cannot be rendered remotely functional, there is a person who can walk around looking pretty damn stable with the same degree of injury. Really. It's kind of amazing, actually.

Oh, and let's not forget that Cutler never missed a college game at Vanderbilt due to injury. Plus, he's faced being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes as an adult, and has learned to manage the disease as a professional athlete- no easy feat.

A quarterback has got to be able to protect himself on that field. If he was unable to do so appropriately, than it's completely unfair for any of us to expect him to go out there. Period.

Makes me love my team even more to hear everyone come to his defense. Thank God for small miracles. Here's a smattering of support from his coach and teammates. I think the entire situation could have been handled better. The Bears were wishy-washy with injury updates during the game, and both Lovie and Cutler chose to make statements that could perceived as questionable rather than definitive in regards to what happened, who pulled whom, etc. Such is life.

I hope Jay's injuries do not necessitate surgery- most isolated MCL's are treated non-surgically these days, but that in no way means he should have been out on that field.

I think Jim Trotter said it best in his column, stating, "The look in his eyes after hearing that players around the league questioned his integrity told me something that an MRI cannot. The pain in his heart was far greater than anything he felt in his knee."

Hugs to Jay from Kansas. We ♥ you! Do what you need to do to recover (physically and emotionally) and we look forward to seeing you next year!

SPH Mama rant... OVER.

{clever title completely swiped from facebook friend Heather in thoughtful comment left on my rant last night...}

2 sweet tweets:

Jacques S said...

Glad to see there are some fans that still support Cutler. He is a good QB. I hope the MRI scanner doesn't reveal anything serious.

Anonymous said...

Hey Heather,

I spent Christmas with Jay since he is dating my step sister. I was very disheartened to see all the judgemental comments on facebook. He is a very quiet person socially and does not identify with the celebrity lifestyle at all. He doesnt like being approached by fans or giving autographs. He loves the game, but sees it as his job. The media tends to give him a bad reputation due to this. The injuries he has been through this year have really led him to only want to play for 5 years or so and retire and have a family. He really is a down to earth, normal guy. I know if he could have played he would have, he just doesn't feel risking more severe injuries for a game is warranted and I commend him for it.

By the way, I follow your blog once in a while. You are such an amazing mom and have gorgeous girls:)

Sierra (from high school)