The Chargers quarterback memorably left a Divisional Round game after the ’07 season with a torn MCL and ACL, but was able to play in the AFC Championship after surgery on his MCL.
Rivers mostly came to Cutler’s defense in an interview Monday, although he also admitted he’d have acted differently.
“Me personally, I’d have to have been taken off in a cart,” Rivers told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “That doesn’t mean I’d be right. If they knew he couldn’t throw the ball good, he wasn’t helping anybody . . .
“I’ll never say what he should have done. I can’t even say what I would have done in the same position. I do know I’m not coming out unless I can’t do anything, and maybe that’s how it was [for Cutler].”
Cutler said he couldn’t plant and throw on his injury, which turned out to be a Grade II MCL tear. It’s important to note that Rivers stressed Cutler has been tough throughout his career and that Rivers felt empathy for his fellow quarterback.
Still, Rivers’ conflicted answer is unmistakable. It helps to show why the topic of Cutler’s toughness is a complicated one that many fellow NFL players pounced on.