Jay Cutler shakes off concussion, is ready to go vs. Seahawks
Same old Jay Cutler.
After the Chicago Bears announced Wednesday that their starting quarterback had been cleared by doctors and was completely recovered from a concussion, Cutler spoke to the media for the first time in two weeks. He was, at turns, insightful, contrary, humble, stubborn, dismissive and combative. In other words, normal.
Cutler made concussions sound like a trumped-up issue, calling them “kind of the hot spot this year in the NFL.”
But he also praised the Bears for being careful with him.
“Concussions are tricky,” Cutler said. “You never really know for sure when you are going to be 100 percent healthy. … I’ve been banged up before and still went out and played, but your head and your brain, that is totally different. Once you start getting into that element, you have to take a step back.”
Yet he made it clear that he would have made a different decision if the choice had been his.
“I wish I had still started every game,” said Cutler, whose streak of 57 consecutive starts was snapped in Sunday’s 23-6 win in Carolina. “It’s tough. This league is all about battling through injuries.”
Cutler confirmed that his injury may have occurred before he was sacked for the ninth time in the waning seconds of the first half against the Giants two weeks ago.
“We’re not sure what hit exactly it was,” Cutler said. “There were some moments in the second quarter where I probably wasn’t completely aware of what was going on.”
But that didn’t excuse his passing for only 42 yards before leaving at halftime in that 17-3 loss to the Giants.
“I still knew what was going on,” he said, “still knew what the hot reads were, still knew where guys were at on the field.”
He knew what was going on, but took nine sacks. Some of that, he admitted, was because he held the ball too long.
“It takes 11 guys to make a play go right and it takes only a couple to make it go wrong,” Cutler said. “We’re all responsible.”
Cutler described his concussion as causing dizziness and “general fogginess of your surroundings. You’re not as sharp. You’re awareness is down.”
The Bears (4-1) contend he’ll be as sharp as ever Sunday against the Seahawks (2-2). Veteran center Olin Kreutz said getting Cutler back a week after backup Todd Collins threw four interceptions “means everything to us.”
“He’s our leader. He’s our guy,” Kreutz said. “He’s an elite quarterback.”
Cutler has a 102.2 passer rating and 912 yards through 3 ½ games.
“This guy, it’s built around him,” defensive tackle Tommie Harris said.
Cutler bordered on testy when reporters questioned whether his diabetes made his symptoms worse, calling the idea “ridiculous,” or whether he would get tested again.
“It’s over, I’m assuming,” he said. “I got tested Monday and everything was clean, so I’m assuming I’m done.”
Cutler considers the concussion issue all behind him now.
So do his coaches.
“Since somebody has been released, you have to assume that everything is fine,” offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. “To approach it any other way would not be fair to anybody.”
So Martz doesn’t plan to protect Cutler with more conservative play calls. And Jay Cutler will still occasionally take on linebackers when he scrambles.
“I can’t change the way I play,” Cutler said.
“You cannot play a football game careful,” head coach Lovie Smith agreed. “We’re going to protect Jay better and, hopefully, the running game will help out some also. But we’ll let him just play his brand of ball.”
Matt Trowbridge can be reached at 815-987-1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.