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Criticism of Cutler Escalates After Bears Loss

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 24, 2011 3:00PM

Almost as soon as Jay Cutler was bulled from yesterday's NFC Championship game with what the Bears termed as a knee injury, criticism against the quarterback began, with fans and former players alike echoing the sentiment that Cutler should have stayed in the game. Criticism by former players was especially harsh. Yahoo Sports' Doug Farrar rounded up the opinions of Cutler's NFL contemporaries. To a man, they all seemed to agree that Cutler quit on the Bears, with the most pointed criticisms coming from Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Pundits such as ESPN's Michael Wilbon also saw the tweets from other players and opined that they only reinforced what players already thought of Cutler, pre-injury.

Closer to home, former Bear great Steve McMichael said during one of the postgame shows that he hoped Cutler was legitimately injured. Sun-Times NFL columnist and WSCR-AM morning host Mike Mulligan offered the sentiment that he hoped the MRI Cutler is due to have today reveals some significant damage.

It's damning commentary for a quarterback who was sacked 52 times in the regular season and took at least as many hits from pass rushers while standing tall in the pocket. Linebacker Brian Urlacher, a loyal teammate to the end, took to the airwaves and media after the game to defend his quarterback against questions of his toughness.

"I don't question his toughness. He's tough as hell. He's one of the toughest guys on our football team. He doesn't bitch. He doesn't complain when he gets hit. He goes out there and plays his ass off every Sunday. He practices every single day. So, no, we don't question his toughness."

The Bears had Cutler test out his knee on a stationary bike before the second half and decided to pull him when he couldn't go after the Bears' first possession of the half.