Cutler not tough enough? Theismann says stigma undeserved

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.

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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.

"I just felt like Jay was treated very, very wrongly by other guys in the game," Theismann told the *Chicago Tribune*. "What nobody wants to talk about is that here's a guy that actually went back out on the field (in the second half) and tried to play. It wasn't like he told the coaches: 'Hey, look, I can't do anything, I can't play.'"

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 offense's problems. You need somebody to throw the football to. They finally woke up and said, 'Hey, Devin (Hester), we're only going to use you part-time because you're such a valuable asset on punt returns.'"

Theismann said Cutler is quiet and reserved by nature, traits that shouldn't be held against him just because of the position he plays.

"You 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 he's not a phony. There's 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.

"You 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 hasn't. He's his own man."

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