Hello sports fans.
Anyone who has been gracious enough to read my work in the past will notice a bit of a departure here. Normally I am extolling the virtues of the Pittsburgh Steelers—particularly why Big Ben should be considered an elite quarterback—or lamenting the fact that my home town team, the Tennessee Titans, can't seem to put all the puzzle pieces together and make a solid run at the title.
None of that will be mentioned any further in this article.
No, today sports fans I take issue with the events that took place surrounding the knee injury to Jay Cutler, the erstwhile quarterback of the NFC North champion Chicago Bears, most specifically the response by his so-called contemporaries.
I intend to call a few out, and if they take offense then they should read my profile to understand that I truly do not care if I tick them off, disrespect them or otherwise draw their ire.
I don't need their approval, nor do I need to berate them to feel better about my own failings, as they seem to need someone to look down on so that they can feel superior to someone.
I do this for the sheer enjoyment.
Much has been said about Cutler; I myself took a shot at him and his attitude a while back after he had been traded from Denver to Chicago in what looked, at the time, to be a good move for the Broncos.
Was player reaction to Cutler's injury overly harsh?
As a Nashville native, I had a front row seat, so to speak, of what many termed his bratty behavior as the quarterback for the Vanderbilt Commodores.
I've questioned his ability to handle pressure, I've wondered if he had the social skills and leadership ability to pull off being a truly successful quarterback in the NFL.
I've also acknowledged his impressive game skills when things are going his way.
One thing I have NEVER done is question his ability to play through pain, and not just because I have never been a professional quarterback and therefore have no frame of reference.
In the event that the sarcasm in the previous statement was missed, allow me to clear it up: that was a potshot at anyone, including other players, who has never played quarterback at the professional level but still felt they had a frame of reference from which to offer criticism.
Not to compare apples to oranges, but one thing I do know about is a knee injury. More specifically, and this is in no way meant to come across as bragging, I know about suffering a leg injury that would make most people cringe at the very thought.
I broke my leg two years ago; in fact, I shattered it. I was a practicing martial artist, and during an advancement testing session I landed incorrectly and snapped my tibia.
I broke the fibula into six pieces.
At LEAST three people who used to take classes with me were there saw it happen and no longer take class.
During the ensuing surgery to insert a titanium rod in my leg, the doctor had to completely dislocate my patella to drill through the middle of the bone.
I still have the rod and four screws two years later.
And I am still a practicing martial artist.
I regale you with this tale not to impress you with my own "toughness," but to say that I know what is is like to have a leg injury that no one can see, that two years on SHOULD be well along the road to healing.
It still hurts me to this day, sometimes severely, and all it takes to make me drop to my knees is for me to step just so. After a moment I can walk on it again, albeit with a slight limp. But when it happens, if I am engaged in anything physical, my day is over.
Even if it looks like I'm not hurting much, even when I want desperately to continue.
So I can fully understand how Cutler can be standing on the sidelines, can have injured his knee in the first half, tried to go back out and been in enough pain to know—to absolutely know—that you cannot go one more time.
And I am not even a professional athlete. One would think that his contemporaries, many of whom have had similar injuries, would be a tad bit more sympathetic.
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Therefore, it is time to call out a few of the critics, and see if they need to do any sweeping around their own doorsteps.
To Maurice Jones-Drew, who is backtracking and now saying he "threw a joke out there" that went bad, and that his comments were "misunderstood."
Both tweets were pretty clear to me, at least. There was the implication that Cutler was a quitter, and he also claimed that he played a full year with a similar injury.
Last time I checked, a full year included 16 games; Jones-Drew packed it in after 14. Why did you quit then, Mo? You couldn't go two more games? Who made the call, you or the docs?
To Kirk Morrison, who claimed that if his knee was hurt, or his acl/mcl/pcl was sprained, he wouldn't be "standing on the sideline."
Cutler's MCL was actually severely sprained, and he actually was trying to loosen up his leg on the bike, and actually was able to still stand on the sideline.
Who's the sissy now, Morrison?
To Deion Sanders: until you can play through turf toe and can actually make a solid tackle, you don't EVER get to question someone's heart and toughness—which will never happen because you are old, retired, and not really all that good of a sportscaster. TRUTH.
To Raheem Brock: how does it feel that your starters weren't good enough to muster a winning season, and that you play in such a weak division that your team was the first bunch of losers to get to the playoffs?
Oh, and it is spelled F...A...V...R...E. And you couldn't hold a candle to him either. Shut up, sit down and go get a latte from Starbucks.
To Hamza Abdullah: you don't know what you would do if Cutler came back in the game? I know what you can do: you can sit back and shush since you and your sorry team didn't have the heart to pull off a winning season and make the playoffs, instead sending a bunch of 7-9 losers to represent your division.
To Michael Robinson: coward. Have the heart to directly address the man your off-handed compliment to Hanie is intended to insult. Otherwise, go join your other 7-9 hacks at Starbucks.
To Aaron Curry: in order to come OUT of the NFC Championship game, you must first be IN the NFC Championship game.
To Darnell Dockett: you aren't on "chicago team"...they went to the playoffs, while your team didn't. It would be one thing if there were four winning records and you just lost out...every team in that division was a loser this year, your team just sucked more...
Nice tattoos, by the way...compensating for something?
To Derrick Brooks: one would think that a former champion, someone who travels the world mentoring young people and has four children of his own would be just a little bit more grown up. I guess all that charity work is so much bull, huh?
There is also no medicine for a guy with no restraint and even less maturity.
Way to set the example, big fella.
I'm pretty sure I missed a few people, but I think I've made my point.
Jay Cutler took 52 sacks in 2010, which is 12 more than the man who came in second in that category.
As a real point of comparison, look to Ben Roethlisberger, who is regularly lambasted for holding onto the ball too long and taking too many sacks; he was only sacked 32 times.
Cutler is neither as big nor as strong as Roethlisberger, but he got up after every sack and continued playing. AND led his team to the NFC Championship.
He also ran the ball 50 times, and as anyone who has seen him play can tell you, he is more prone to taking the hit instead of being a "sissy" and hook sliding to protect himself.
I don't know how many times he was hit without being sacked; I truly didn't feel like looking that one up. Suffice it to say, a quarterback who gets sacked 52 times in a season got hit without being sacked at least that many times.
And yet there he was playing in the NFC Championship game, a feat that 28 other quarterbacks were unable to accomplish this year.
Petulant, moody, standoff-ish and possibly a bit immature? Yeah, maybe.
A quitter, a sissy, or heartless?
Don't think so.