Jay Cutler & the 15 Most Gutless Performances in Sports History

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IJanuary 24, 2011

Jay Cutler & the 15 Most Gutless Performances in Sports History

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    Jay Cutler rode the bench the second half of the NFC Championship game with a "knee injury."

    Cutler played a little bit while injured before being benched.

    We'll get into it a little more later, but Cutler clearly quit on the team unless it's revealed later his knee was in pieces. But if that were true, why was he sitting on the sideline?

    But this kind of gutless performance brings to mind other great quitters of the past.

    Here's a look at 15 of the biggest quitters in sports history.

    UPDATE: Cutler reportedly tore his MCL. This is a legitimate injury, but it doesn't excuse Cutler's total mental checkout from the game. He made no attempt to put a brace on and he gave no help to Caleb Hanie. This is still an issue, but at least Cutler can show the MRI as proof he was injured.

15. John Daly

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    John Daly has quit golf several times for several reasons, but he always seems to come back with even louder pants.

    Fortunately in this picture, he is wearing his shirt, which he also has decided to go without while on the golf course.

    Daly has had numerous issues over the years, and quitting when the going gets tough is just one of them.

14. Jeff Tarango

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    Jeff Tarango decided enough was enough one day and did something a lot of other tennis players probably have contemplated doing.

    At the 1995 Wimbledon, Tarango became upset with some unfavorable calls from umpire Bruno Rebeuh. After the crowd began heckling him over an incident, Tarango told the crowd to "shut up," and Rebeuh immediately issued a code violation. The argument escalated to the point where Tarango accused Rebeuh of being corrupt, packed his rackets and left the court.

    To make the incident even more gutless, his wife then approached Rebeuh and slapped him twice in the face.

13. Derek Anderson

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    First Derek Anderson played bad, then he played even worse.

    Then the cameras caught Anderson just laughing it up on the sidelines as his team was getting blown out on Monday Night Football.

    What followed was Anderson's meltdown that now is as infamous as any press conference meltdown on the internet.

    Anderson never seemed to understand what being a starting quarterback in the NFL meant and responded to adversity by just mailing it in.

12. Randy Moss

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    Randy Moss is about as gutless as a player can be. Moss even has been quoted talking about only playing when he feels like it.

    And when things get difficult, the only thing you can expect from Moss is for him to take plays off, pull up short on routes and abandon his teammates when they need him most.

    Or he'll just curse out a caterer because, hey, he's Randy Moss.

11. Butch Davis

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    After a 3-8 start and everything going wrong in the 2004 season, Butch Davis told the Cleveland Browns front office he had begun having panic attacks and resigned.

    So a guy who had been a coach at the college and NFL level and who had been in much higher stakes situation than a 3-8 season decided it was too much pressure.

    But don't cry for Davis; he gets to coach North Carolina now. No pressure there. Nope. None at all.

10. Vince Young

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    Vince Young repeatedly gave Titans head coach Jeff Fisher numerous reasons to bench him. Between poor play and off-field mental health questions, Young wasn't exactly a model starting quarterback in the NFL.

    After more poor play this year, Young injured the thumb on his throwing hand and was benched. Young's response was to throw half his uniform into the stands, tell Fisher in the locker room he was "quitting on him" and leave the facility.

    Vince Young currently is looking for employment.

9. Bobby Petrino

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    Bobby Petrino was hired to help guide the Falcons back to the playoffs in 2007. Then Michael Vick was arrested on dogfighting charges, and the season quickly spiraled down the drain.

    Petrino's response?

    With three weeks left in the season, Petrino left a note in the Falcons locker room, telling them he had resigned to take the Arkansas Razorbacks job.

8. Tonya Harding

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    Tonya Harding, rather than face the much more talented Nancy Kerrigan, decided to have Kerrigan taken out via hitman.

    Harding still steadfastly denies direct involvement in the incident that left Kerrigan with just a deep thigh bruise, but Harding won the 1994 U.S. Skating Championships in Detroit after Kerrigan was forced to withdraw.

    Harding has only admitted to knowing about the incident and helping to cover up the attack after the fact.

7. Manny Ramirez

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    Manny Ramirez always is accused of "Manny Being Manny," but never was that more reprehensible than in the summer of 2008 when Ramirez decided he wanted more money and was unhappy with his $160 million contract.

    First, Ramirez started a fight with Kevin Youklis, then he stopped running down ground balls. He frequently wouldn't run out easy plays to first even before 2008, but that only grew worse as the summer progressed.

    Ramirez then got into an altercation with a Red Sox staff member, complained of a knee injury but never could remember which knee (an MRI on both knees revealed no damage) and finally told Manager Terry Francona he wasn't going to play one night.

    Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers on July 31, 2008. The Red Sox did just fine without him.

6. Jay Cutler

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    When other quarterbacks limp on to the field to get the job done, when other quarterbacks have to have their helmets taken from them and hidden to keep them from getting back on the field, Jay Cutler just sits on the bench and hopes he doesn't have to have surgery.

    Cutler was injured in the first half of the NFC Championship game but came out for the second half. Then he sat down on the bench while Todd Collins played terrible.

    He courageously climbed on the exercise bike, without taking his coat off because it was cold, but then resumed his place on the bench.

    Third string quarterback Caleb Hanie eventually came out and showed real potential, but the Bears lost due to Hanie's inexperience.

    Meanwhile, Cutler sat on the bench instead of seeking medical treatment for his knee and elbow.

    *UPDATE: Cutler tore his MCL, according to reports from ESPN. That being said. Cutler's attitude on the sideline was completely disgusting, and the fact he gave up on trying to get back into the game so easily says a lot of things about his character, mainly that you don't want this guy being your starting quarterback.

5. Mike Tyson

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    Mike Tyson's early career was nothing short of brilliant, but after mentor Cus D'Amasto died, Tyson fell in with Don King, and his career quickly spiraled into oblivion as King exploited him for everything he could before there was nothing left to exploit.

    By 1997, Tyson had served time in prison on a rape charge and was a shadow of his former self.

    A few rounds into a highly publicized fight with Evander Holyfield, Tyson realized he was losing the fight, and unable to man up and try and finish it, he attacked Holyfield, grabbing his head and biting part of his ear off. That was the second bite Tyson made during the fight.

    Tyson was disqualified and eventually retired from boxing after several comeback attempts.

4. The 2010 French World Cup Team

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    The 2010 French World Cup Team wasn't getting off to a good start, so bad that striker Nikolas Anelca was dismissed from the team for allegedly getting into a dispute with the team manager.

    By the time things were done, France lived up to their reputation for waving the white flag as the team quit and refused to practice for a few days. The team's managing director, Jean-Louis Valentin, announced his resignation from his position and the federation, and when the French team finally returned to play, they were beaten 2-1 by South Africa.

3. Roberto Duran

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    In his rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980, behind on the scorecards, and Leonard already showboating, Duran refused to answer the bell for the eighth round, telling the referee, "No mas," which translates to "No More."

2. Scottie Pippen

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    The 1994 NBA Playoffs featured the Chicago Bulls minus Michael Jordan, who was off playing baseball that year.

    With Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semis tied at 102 a piece, head coach Phil Jackson decided to give the ball to Toni Kukoc for the final shot with 1.8 seconds left.

    Pippen bravely responded to his role in this play by refusing to take the court and watched the Bulls win the game from the bench.

1. LeBron James

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    Once again, we find ourselves in the Eastern Conference semifinals as LeBron James flat out quit on the Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Boston Celtics.

    With nothing to gain in free agency with an NBA Championship, and Boston looking like the better team, LeBron only had one good game, and quite clearly had no interest in playing in Game 5, shooting 3-14 and only scoring 15 points.

    LeBron claimed he only had "a bad game," but James' complete lack of interest in the game was evident on his face from the moment the ball was tipped off until the final buzzer.