Jay Cutler's 'Knee-Gate': Was the Bears QB a Wimp or Wounded?

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IJanuary 24, 2011

Jay Cutler had a great view of the game from the Bears bench.
Jay Cutler had a great view of the game from the Bears bench.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Jay Cutler sure rides a mean stationary bike.

When the sledding got tough there in the Windy City on Sunday afternoon, good ole No. 6 was right there on the sidelines, cheering on Todd Collins and the great Caleb Hanie as they attempted to replace the Chicago Bears starting quarterback in that mighty struggle with the Green Bay Packers.

Forget the fact that a Super Bowl berth was on the line, there was No. 6 on the sidelines; the only battle he was fighting was the Battle of Wounded Knee.

Don't tell Bears fans that Jay couldn't play. This was THE trade that would take the Bears to the promised land. Somehow, someway, Denver lost its senses and traded this superstar of a QB to Chicago, oh happy days!

Perhaps the Broncos knew something that Chicago didn't.

Now we have this huge debate-o-rama today. Bears fans couldn't wait to start burning Jay Cutler jerseys in the parking lot after the loss to Green Bay.

Yes, it doesn't go over well when the starting quarterback exits stage left from the NFL's second biggest stage.

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There was Jay and his double-chin, pacing the sidelines and riding the stationary bike, but there would be no Willis Reed moment; there would be no triumphant return of the Wounded One.

"We gave it a go that first series," Cutler said of the beginning of the second half. "But couldn't really plant and throw so they pulled me."

Cutler watched as No. 2 Collins got knocked from the game and then No. 3 Caleb Hanie was up; at that moment, there would be no miracle. NFL rules wouldn't let Cutler back in the game once Hanie was in.

Jay could simply relax and get off the bike.

There was plenty of abuse for Cutler after the loss, plenty of NFL and former NFL players who were sure this was a wimp-out, to put it mildly.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher played the good teammate and didn't want to hear criticism for No. 6. "Nothing like jealous people watching at home," said the big bruiser from the center of the defense.

One of those "jealous" folks was Jaguars running back Maurice-Jones Drew. "All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee. I played the whole season on one," he tweeted.

Then came this gem from Darnell Dockett of the Cardinals: "If I'm on Chicago's team, Jay Cutler has to wait till me and the team shower, get dressed and leave before he comes into the locker room."

TV guy Deion Sanders couldn't resist piling on: "I'm telling u in the playoffs u must drag me off the field. All the medicine in pro locker rooms, this dude comes out! I apologize bears fans...folks I never question a players injury, but i do question a players heart..." Sanders twittered.

Oh there was more, a lot more, plenty to go around.

What everyone needs to consider is that Cutler was pretty much stinking up Soldier Field when he WAS in there. The greatness that is No. 6 was 6-for-14 for 80 yards and a pick. Didn't look like the kind of start that's going to get any team into the Super Bowl.

Lovie Smith was aggravated by the media questions in the aftermath.

"He was hurt and couldn't go..." was Lovie's postgame take and the more they pressed, the less Lovie loved being there in front of the inquisitors.

Yeah, Lovie was in between a rock and a left knee injury.

Sure, those Chicago fans probably remember Phillip Rivers playing in the 2007 AFC title game with a torn ACL.

And good gosh almighty, 'da fans of 'da Bears saw waaaaaaaaaaaay too much of good old No. 4 when he played for Green Bay.

How in the hell did Lord Favre start 297 consecutive games in this league?

And could anyone imagine a 27-year-old Brett Favre calling it quits in the first half of an NFC title game?

Well, shame on us for being so unfair as to compare Jay Cutler to Lord Favre.

Right now, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone to compare Jay Cutler to.

The sad fact is Cutler will have to live with this one, and it may haunt him for a long time.

Cutler himself knows, and he knows what's ahead for him this offseason.

There will be "Knee-Gate" and questions about his heart and toughness.

Said Cutler: "It's a lonely feeling."

It is lonely, unless, somewhere, he can find a stationary bike built for two. 

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