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NFL clears Bears handling of Jay Cutler on Sunday night

Bears quarterback Cutler lies on the field after being hit late on a play by the Houston Texans during the first half of their NFL football game at Soldier Field in Chicago Reuters

While Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins argues that the NFL should pass on fining him for hitting Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in the helmet on Sunday night, the league is reportedly investigating another part of Cutler’s night.

Cutler remained in the game, throwing an interception a few plays later and returning for another series before halftime. He wouldn’t return to the game after being diagnosed with a concussion during halftime. The timeline of the Bears’ decision making has caught the eye of the league and Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports that the league will look into how they handled Cutler.

The immediate thought is to connect the dots to the Colt McCoy situation with the Browns last year, when McCoy remained in a game after taking a hit to the head that resulted in a concussion. Without all the details, it’s hard to make those connections but it is another sign of how difficult it can be to deal with concussions during games. Players can hide symptoms in order to stay in the game, as Chiefs Brady Quinn did recently, and there are not neurologists on the bench to examine players after hits like the one Cutler took on Sunday night, so it remains a work in progress.

We’ll wait to see what other details from Sunday night come to light before big discussions about what the Bears could and/or should have done differently. And, more importantly, what can be done to get injured players out of games more quickly in the future.

UPDATE 12:57 p.m. ET: The NFL has cleared the Bears’ handling of Cutler.

“Our office reviewed it with the [Bears] medical staff and it was properly handled,” said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. “The team followed the correct protocol.”

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20 Responses to “NFL clears Bears handling of Jay Cutler on Sunday night”
  1. golforepar says: Nov 12, 2012 12:54 PM

    I would hope the Bears didn’t have any idea Cutler had concussion symtoms before halftime. His livelyhood is much more important than winning 1 game!

  2. txtuff says: Nov 12, 2012 1:03 PM

    Somebody mentioned on a Texans forum that Cutler took a nasty hit after his last INT, which was his last play, and that the concussion could have came then and not on the Dobbins hit. I haven’t been able to go back and look but it’s worth it if you can.

  3. illiniftw says: Nov 12, 2012 1:08 PM

    In the Bears defense it is really hard to tell the difference in the facial expressions of regular Cutler and concussed Cutler

  4. jmoonraker says: Nov 12, 2012 1:34 PM

    Jay Cutler is a skinny weasel. He won’t be in the league much longer.(thank goodness) He should get out while the getting is good. Then the Bears can get a real QB… Then at least the Bears can win and say they deserve it…..

  5. jwreck says: Nov 12, 2012 1:55 PM

    Just like the league cleared the signing of Peppers during the uncapped year. Not having a division rival owner as the commissioner’s right hand man sounds awesome.

  6. jessejames182 says: Nov 12, 2012 1:58 PM

    The hit looked bad but honestly watching it live I thought that Cutler was going to make a run and it looked definitely that he was passed the line of scrimmage, the defense should’ve definitely be given the benefit of the doubt in this case.

  7. orivar says: Nov 12, 2012 2:03 PM

    The problem is with this concussion stuff, it’s really vague anyways. A concussion is a ‘brain injury’ as it’s touted, but it can be from severely minor to major. You can be dazed for just a few minutes, and then alright afterwards.

  8. philrat says: Nov 12, 2012 2:10 PM

    Dobbins is right. Cutler was a runner on this play according to the refs because he got a penalty for crossing the line of scrimmage therefore Cutler loses all quarterback protections. This play demonstrates how insane the nfl has become!

  9. thepvyharvin says: Nov 12, 2012 2:29 PM

    Well Bears fans, now you can have an excuse when AD runs you guys over,,,,Jay Jay wasn’t feeling good!

  10. lionsfan2014 says: Nov 12, 2012 2:30 PM

    Back in the MNF game vs the Lions it was somewhat apparent that he suffered a concussion from Suh’s hit. Watching from the stands, Cutler wandered and avoided all of the team docs and then returned to the game. Aren’t concussion evals supposed to take place off the sidelines, away from the game?

  11. daaabears says: Nov 12, 2012 2:41 PM

    It does not matter if Cutler was a runner or not, it was a helmet to helmet hit.

    Jeez.

  12. monsterofyourgirlsmidway says: Nov 12, 2012 2:45 PM

    refs actually got the call wrong twice. the rule says that if ANY part of the qb’s body is behind the line then it is a legal forward pass. Cutlers left foot was clearly on the 50 yard line when he threw the pass, when the line of scrimmage was at the 49 yard line. Play would’ve resulted in a personal foul AND the ball at the 2 yard line. Bears got screwed and lost their qb in the process.

  13. purpleguy says: Nov 12, 2012 2:47 PM

    I suspect Cutler didn’t cooperate with those trying to diagnose his condition because he wanted to play. If so, it’s hard to find much fault with the Bears.

  14. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Nov 12, 2012 2:51 PM

    Since it was Cutler they let it slide. Cutler always appears groggy, unresponsive, and disengaged.

  15. axespray says: Nov 12, 2012 3:01 PM

    Houston Head Hunters ?

  16. shorttracknews says: Nov 12, 2012 3:12 PM

    I think the 2nd hit he took later was worse then the first one.

  17. stevenfbrackett says: Nov 12, 2012 6:14 PM

    “properly handled”? Seriously? Did they even watch the tape? Because it was clear as day to the rest of us watching, especially in the closeups, that if they had bothered to ask Jay Cutler what city he was in his answer would have been “Broccoli”.

  18. fotogsteve says: Nov 12, 2012 10:15 PM

    If your team takes out the opposing teams first string quarterback on a penalized play, then your first string quarterback should sit on the bench as long as the injured quarterback does…

  19. larryboodry says: Nov 13, 2012 2:51 AM

    philrat says: Nov 12, 2012 2:10 PM

    “Dobbins is right. Cutler was a runner on this play according to the refs because he got a penalty for crossing the line of scrimmage therefore Cutler loses all quarterback protections.”

    Well, if the refs penalized Cutler (incorrectly or not) for an illegal forward pass, they knew he was now a runner, and still flagged Dobbins for the hit…If the hit wasn’t illegal anyway, only Chicago gets flagged.

  20. chachanola says: Nov 13, 2012 1:15 PM

    Love how the LB from the Texans ran right into him. Not the way he told the story. That deserves a fine.

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