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Cutler gathering teammates could change QB's tarnished image

We now pause from the three-plus months of Jay Cutler bashing in various circles of the media and social media to bring you a bulletin in the form of a compliment.

Yes, that was Cutler sounding very much like a leader poised to take charge when he recently said the time had come for him and some of his Chicago Bears teammates to begin working out on their own.

Is this working out?

Several teams have attempted player-organized workouts during the lockout, but not everyone is reaping the benefits of all the hard work, writes Vic Carucci. **More...**

He didn't merely say they were ready. He said they were "locked and loaded" to begin the sessions in the next couple of weeks.

This was a nice follow-up to Caleb Hanie, the Bears' backup quarterback, saying only days ago in a radio interview that Chicago players had yet to stage any workouts because of uncertainty over whether it would be "just a waste of time" in light of the stalled labor situation.

Neither Cutler nor the rest of the Bears is privy to any sort of unexpected breakthrough that should raise hope for resumption of league-wide football operations or the on-time start of the 2011 season.

But the same can be said for the several other teams that are staging player-organized workouts. They've simply chosen to be proactive, doing whatever they can to enhance their readiness just in case it does prove necessary.

For the Bears, and especially for Cutler, it was a good thing he was the one who broke the news that he and other offensive players on the team would be getting together soon to do some drills. That went a long way toward helping to douse the flames fanned by the images of the starting quarterback who left last January's NFC Championship Game with a knee injury and watched from the sidelines with a look that said he was disengaged and disinterested and anything but a leader.

Now the critics, including current and former NFL players, who have fallen all over themselves to bash Cutler ever since have reason to at least consider that the man just might have more of the necessary intangibles for his position than they think.

Follow Vic Carucci on Twitter @viccarucci.

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