Just prior to the end of the first half of the Bears' 21-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, quarterback Jay Cutler looked to have injured his knee.
He was escorted to the locker room along with medical personnel.
After the half, Cutler limped out of the locker room, grabbed his helmet and trotted back onto the field.
After a quick three and out by the Bears' offense, Cutler was finished.
Second string QB Todd Collins took the field, throwing... well, trying to throw on four attempts for zero completions and zero yards. For those interested, that's a passer rating of 39.58.
As if the Bears' coaching staff needed to see that in order to remind them that this guy can't play the game anymore, they sent Caleb Hanie onto the field.
Hanie went 13 of 20, for 153 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. His passer rating was 65.2.
Despite Hanie's all-around decent performance, to put the Bears within one touchdown of tying the Packers, fans couldn't help but wonder why the heck Cutler had not yet come back onto the field.
But it wasn't just fans; players from around the league took to their respective twitter pages to express their disdain for the Bears' QB who was walking the sidelines.
Raheem Brock, Seahawks DE: "Cutler... wut a sissy! This is the NFC Championship game! Guaranteed if it was Brett Farve... he would still be in the game! Cutler u little sissy... how does it feel that ur back up's backup is the only 1that can put pts on the board! I bet cutler comes back now!"
Well, sorry Brock, even if Cutler could have come back - which he couldn't by NFL rule - Cutler stated after the game that the coaches would not allow him to return.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars RB: "Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now... When the going gets tough... QUIT... All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee... I played the whole season on one..."
Any NFL player should know that one man's "hurt" knee is not another's. Jones-Drew played on a torn right meniscus (cartilage). Initial reports are that Cutler may have a torn ACL or MCL. Unlike some meniscus tears, which can sometimes heal on their own, torn ligaments almost always require surgery. Cutler is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday.
Darnell Dockett; Cardinals DT: "If I'm on chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room! #FACT"
Good for you Darnell. You're a meathead. Except, the Bears biggest meathead and probably MVP, Brian Urlacher had high praise for Cutler after the game saying, "I don't question his toughness. He's tough as hell. One of the toughest guys on our team."
No matter how much we wanted to see Cutler get up and fight to lead his team to victory, we don't have all the answers. It may be quite possible that he was not allowed to continue after the coaches and medical staff watched him struggle on his knee after going back in to start the third quarter.
Which brings up a great point; Cutler DID opt to go back into the game after injuring his knee at halftime. At that point, the game - and the Super Bowl - were still on the line. Why send Cutler out to injure himself even further and possibly not have him available to play in the Super Bowl? Or worse, do permanent damage?
Lovie Smith likely made the best of a bad situation; a move that nearly brought his team back to within tying; even without their star quarterback.
My advice? Let's all wait until we have the details before we condemn Jay Cutler. The ONE thing we have NEVER questioned is his toughness. And we're going to start now???