OK. So he's not a complete pussy. Today's MRI revealed that Jay Cutler sustained a Grade 2 sprain of his Medial Collateral Ligament sometime in the 2nd quarter of last night's NFL Championship game with the Bears' most hated rival, the Green Bay Packers.
Been there. Hurts like hell for about a week.
And I'm sure that he didn't need to be trying to play quarterback behind a leaky offensive line that was at least partially responsible for the league record 53 sacks Cutler took this season with his mobility compromised. I get that.
What I don't get is this: Every time I have sustained an injury to my lower extremities, I have been put on crutches. And I don't have near as much invested in me as the Chicago Bears have in Jay Cutler. Why didn't they have him on crutches? Why didn't they put a brace on him?
Could it be that, contrary to the story that the coaches and the medical staff made the decision to jerk him, that they really didn't much believe that he was hurt that bad?
It would be the easiest thing in the world to make an invidious comparison at this point in the narrative. So by all means let's do it. Cutler, for his wondrous talent, is somewhere in the high middle of the Jeff George-Ryan Leaf continuum. Ryan Leaf is still widely considered the biggest bust in the history of professional sports although JaMarcus Russell's sensational flameout with the Raiders makes him a close second. Jeff George, mercurial headcase that he was, could still get feelers from clubs if he were 10 years younger. Hell, he may still be for all we know.
I know that the camera wasn't on Cutler the whole night. But when it was, his impassive face gave the impression that he didn't much give a shit. We have all seen injured players cheer on their teammates from the bench. Cutler looked for all the world that he had checked out emotionally. Can you imagine an injured Drew Brees standing off to himself after being injured? Of course you can't.
Which again makes you wonder what happened in the locker room at halftime. Or it makes me wonder.
Professional athletes are like politicians in a certain respect. They all have a certain amount of political capital available to them and images count for a lot. In the world of sports, especially in the hyper-macho world of professional football, once it appears that you don't have heart, it's hard to overcome that.
The imagery that was transmitted from Fox yesterday rightly or wrongly painted the picture of everything about certain of our professional athletes that infuriates sports fans.
This is what I can't get out of my head. The Bears say the MRI revealed a knee injury. Why wasn't Jay Cutler on crutches if that's what they suspected Sunday afternoon?
They put me on crutches. And I am nobody.