A month after Jay Cutler endured a barrage of criticism for sitting out the second half of the NFC Championship Game, Bears coach Lovie Smith is still adamant in his support of Cutler as the leader of the team.
Most recently, it came in a question-and-answer session on the team’s web site, where Smith was asked by a fan what kind of leader Cutler is.
“I think he’s been a great leader,” Smith answered. “First off, guys always watch you—in the classroom, on the practice field and of course your play on game day. And they like what they’ve seen from him in that sense. Jay is a tough guy, and the quarterback of the Chicago Bears should be a tough guy. The number of hits Jay took this past season, our guys saw that he constantly got up, didn’t complain, and took responsibility for what was happening with our offense. To me, that’s a leader.”
Smith went on to talk about how his team’s toughness was what impressed him most during the season.
“We kept going; fighting through adversity,” Smith said. “We lost a couple tough games at home. We had an opportunity to go one way or the other, and our guys just stood together. They were mentally tough and kept that belief in each other, and we went on a run.”
It’s just unfortunate for Smith that the run ended one game earlier than he hoped, with his leader watching from the sideline.