Jeff Dickerson at ESPN “celebrates” the fifth anniversary of the Bears playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. Bears fans will remember the game as much for the Jay Cutler knee injury as for the loss.
Dickerson points out yet again that Cutler was, indeed, legitimately injured. Personally I have never questioned Cutler’s physical toughness. His mental toughness, on the other hand, I think was a legitimate issue as Dickerson also accurately points out what a miserable first half Cutler had as the Bears got dominated and Cutler certainly looked to me like he gave up well before the injury.
But none of that is really why I remember this game. Dickerson comments:
“Because Chicago initially announced Cutler as ‘questionable’ to return, NFL players started to question the severity of the quarterback’s knee injury on Twitter (a rare occurrence at the time).
“‘All I’m saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee. … I played the whole season on one,’ former Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew tweeted.
“Ex-Arizona Cardinals defender Darnell Dockett added: ‘If I’m on Chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room! #FACT'”
Never have I ever seen a player publicly savaged by his peers under those circumstances the way that Cutler was on that day. The guess here is that I never will again. The NFL is a fraternity and almost every player who has ever been injured knows how unfair it can be to question such things. Could you hear some trash talking in the days preceding a game? Sure. But never this.
The most lasting impression that I have of that game is how hated Cutler must have been amongst his peers to evoke these kinds of public comments. You wonder how much of that still lingers even five years later.