Like everyone else, I was surprised that Jay Cutler was unable to compete in the second half during the Chicago Bears' 21-14 loss in NFC Championship Game to the Green Bay Packers.
One would think with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, an athlete needs to be carried off the field for him to discontinue playing.
However, it was completely out of line for NFL players from around the league to question Cutler's toughness on Twitter before receiving any news about the extent of the injuries suffered against the Packers.
Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now ... When the going gets tough........QUIT..
-- Maurice Jones Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars running back
FOX HAVENT SHOWED ANY TRAINERS LOOKING AT CUTLER, UMMM
-- Derrick Brooks, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker
If my knee was hurt or acl/mcl/pcl sprain, I would not be standing up on the sideline. #jaycutler
-- Kirk Morrison, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker
Pro athletes have routinely chastised the press and fans for jumping the gun in their reporting and opinions surrounding public and private situations involving them.
For current and former players to do the same thing to Cutler reeks of hypocrisy and lack of responsibility.
It also looks bad from an NFLPA perspective to have players calling out an injured guy for not playing hurt when you have union members openly complaining about the NFL wanting to extend the season to 18 games.
I will say that there is a lot you can question Cutler about when it comes to his body language, apathetic attitude, aloofness dealing with the media or the 31 quarterback rating posted during Sunday's game.
But nobody has ever questioned his toughness. Neither teammates nor members of the press, who don't adore him as a person (or quarterback) have never questioned Cutler's willingness to perform.
"I don't (care) about players around the league who are watching the game from home," said Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher after the game in response to NFL players commenting on Cutler not being able to finish the second half.
"It's easy to talk about someone while you're sitting on your couch watching the game. That's all I'm saying. I don't understand it. I don't get it. Let them sprain their MCL, or do whatever he did to his knee, and let them get back in the game.
"Let's see them do that, see how well they run the ball, or see how well they do at whatever position they play. I don't agree with it. It's easy to write that stuff on the Internet."
Cutler has played several seasons in the NFL with Type 1 diabetes.
If an aliment such as that can't keep Cutler out of a violent game, what makes anyone believe a minor knee injury would?
Cutler has taken a beating the last two years in Chicago. He has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the NFL during that time.
In a game against the New York Giants where he was sacked nine times in the first half, Cutler actually suffered a concussion midway through the second quarter and continued to play, even though according to reports he appeared woozy on the sidelines.
Cutler did not play the following week against the Carolina Panthers. the only game he has missed in his career.
At least not publicly has Cutler ever complained about the punishment he's taken.
"Jay was hurt, said a grumbling Urlacher. "I don't question his toughness, he's tough as hell. He's one of the toughest players on our football team. He doesn't bitch, he doesn't complain when he gets hit.
"He goes out there and plays his ass off every Sunday, he practices every single day, so no we don't question his toughness."
It is understandable to wonder why the starting quarterback of team playing for the right to appear in the Super Bowl is held out of the game with what seems to be a non-life-threatening or season-ending injury.
If we later find out that the MRI performed on Cutler's injured knee was something minor or he could have played through, feel free to rip him to pieces.
Tough guys don't take themselves out of a championship game with an ache or pain. It takes severe breaks, tears or in some cases, even more to remove hulking football players from a legacy-defining contest.
However, if it turns out that Cutler suffered a severe injury, then a retweet apology should be in order.
Center Olin Kruetz said: "If you don't have an MCL injury or whatever, then you don't understand. It's easy to question people from your couch, but it's...stupid."