Jay Cutler accumulated a large contingent of detractors even before his infamous early exit from the NFC Championship Game in January. But don't count former Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Theisman among those in the Anti-Cutler camp.
Theismann, who is forever remembered for the gruesome Monday Night Football injury that ended his playing career, said it was unfair to assume Cutler wasn't willing to play through pain.
âI just felt like Jay was treated very, very wrongly by other guys in the game,â Theismann told the Chicago Tribune. âWhat nobody wants to talk about is that hereâs a guy that actually went back out on the field (in the second half) and tried to play. It wasnât like he told the coaches: âHey, look, I canât do anything, I canât play.â"
Theismann said the Bears shouldn't worry about their quarterback and instead focus on importing some weapons to help take the offense to a higher level.
"What the Bears need is a wide receiver," he said. "Let me tell you, Jay Cutler is the least of that offenseâs problems. You need somebody to throw the football to. They finally woke up and said, âHey, Devin (Hester), weâre only going to use you part-time because youâre such a valuable asset on punt returns.â"
Theismann said Cutler is quiet and reserved by nature, traits that shouldn't be held against him just because of the position he plays.
âYou have a lot of different types of personalities. Brian Urlacher is a bit more outspoken as a person. And Jay is not," Theismann said. "To me, I would say, 'Hey, respect who the guy is.' At least you know heâs not a phony. Thereâs no false pretense about Jay, where he is going to go out there and try to be a rah-rah guy."
Theismann can put himself in Cutler's shoes, also once the face of a franchise during his long run with the Washington Redskins. He knows the pressures that come with the spotlight and dealing with perceptions of how people think you should carry yourself.
âYou have to respect people for who they are. I went through this in my career," he told the Tribune. "I bought things that I thought (NFL) quarterbacks should have. I said things because I thought that was the way a quarterback should act. I fell into that trap. So maybe that is why I am a little more sensitive to the way Jay is than maybe other guys, because he hasnât. Heâs his own man."