Bears coach Lovie Smith said at his press conference today that quarterback Jay Cutler has an MCL sprain, and he lashed out at NFL players who took to Twitter to question Cutler’s toughness.
“I haven’t seen it before,” Smith said of the kind of criticism Cutler has gotten from around the NFL. “It seems like if you’re in that fraternity you’d be stepping up for your fellow man. Especially when you don’t know. You don’t know what’s going on. As far as Jay, Jay didn’t take himself out of the game. If you’re going to be attacking somebody, attack me, as a head football coach — and our medical staff — we’re the ones. He wanted to go back in. He was injured and went back in in the second half. So I see it as the complete opposite.”
Smith told the reporters present that he was surprised there was so much scrutiny on Cutler.
“For most of you it seems like the storyline has been about whether our quarterback is a tough guy,” Smith said. “Our quarterback is a tough guy. He wanted to win the game as much as anyone. It’s pretty simple what happened yesterday. Before the half Jay hurt his knee, showed a lot of toughness to continue to play with it. Right before the half, when we threw the pick, the medical staff — we all — made the decision that he couldn’t go. We took him in to try to work on him, which we did. But Jay, you know, we got the treatment there at halftime, we weren’t sure if he would be able to go. He wanted to go and tried to go the second half as he went back in that first series. You never want a player to be out on the football field if he can’t protect himself and can’t perform his duties. That’s what happened.
“For guys to take a shot that weren’t there, to try to look at his body language and figure out whether he was hurt because he was on the sideline, or, ‘What I would do in that situation,’ you don’t know what you would do in that situation. The guys that know what he was going through were the guys on our sideline. And you go to our players and see exactly what went on. I have no questions about any of that for our football team.”
Asked what would lead other NFL players to question Cutler, Smith said he wasn’t sure.
“I have no idea,” Smith said. “You’d have to talk to them about that.”
And Smith said he has nothing but confidence in Cutler heading into 2011.
“He’s our quarterback,” Smith said. “He’s done a lot of great things for us. I can’t wait for our future together with him leading our team.”