NFL: Bears take up for Cutler against critics
LAKE FOREST, Ill. ó Jay Cutler finally got some protection.
The Chicago Bears rushed to their quarterbackís defense on Monday, blasting current and former players who in Twitter posts questioned his toughness for sitting out most of the second half of Sundayís 21-14 NFC championship game loss to Green Bay with a knee injury.
ěI think itís crap,î general manager Jerry Angelo said. ěI thought they were a union. If thatís the way they unionize themselves, they got bigger issues than the one that they have with the owners. Iím very disappointed. That, to me, is dirty pool.î
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew and Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, along with former players like Deion Sanders and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, were among those criticizing Cutler on Sunday.
To that, coach Lovie Smith said, ěOur quarterbackís a tough guy. … Itís pretty simple what happened yesterday. Before the half, Jay hurt his knee. He showed a lot of toughness to continue to play with it.î
Smith said Cutler sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee late in the first half and would have been questionable for the Feb. 6 Super Bowl had the Bears beaten Green Bay. He also emphasized the team and medical staff made the call to lift the quarterback, who played the first series in the third quarter before standing on the sideline.
His coach and teammates had plenty to say, though. They were particularly peeved about a series of Twitter posts by current and former players ripping Cutler.
ěIíll just tell you this, the one thing I know about Jay Cutler is heís tough,î said third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie, who led a late comeback bid. ěAnother thing I know about him is heís going to stand up for his teammates. He didnít want to let his teammates down. So if he could have been on the field and been productive for the team, he would have done it.î
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