Yes, Jay Cutler is tough. But he also gets injured a lot. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune )
Jay Cutler's career with the Bears has been full of twists and turns. Unfortunately, most of those involve body parts.
The "signature" moment of Cutler's Bears career was shivering on the sidelines during the NFC championship game, leading everyone to question his toughness and leadership (you know you did).
Which makes Sunday a strange reversal in potentially one of Cutler's last Bears games when fans wanted him out of the game earlier.
Since the NFC title game, Cutler has gone out of his way to prove his toughness. He's almost certainly taken more of a beating than any quarterback in the NFL, playing Sunday on a high ankle sprain and injured groin before finally being replaced by Josh McCown.
And yet Cutler on the sideline is his defining image as a Bear. He's left six of the past 24 games he's started with an injury. He's missed nine games completely in his Bears career, his 10th coming next week and then who knows how many more; a high ankle sprain generally takes four to six weeks to heal.
Cutler is certainly "tough." But Cutler is certainly injured a lot.
The Bears are barely hanging on to relevancy this year, and losing Cutler and Charles Tillman pretty much seals their fate for the year. So it might be time to think about the big question hanging over the season: whether to bring back Cutler next year. Seeing as he got injured again Sunday, it should make the decision easy.
It would be hard to justify paying $15 million or more a year to a guy you can't count on playing every week, regardless if he's been not a complete abomination at quarterback and making him the best in franchise history. With a historically deep quarterback class in the draft next year, a rookie QB would have receivers in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to work with and an offensive-minded coach to flourish under.
The Bears would finally be admitting they aren't Super Bowl contenders by not bringing back Cutler--but going in a different direction wouldn't hurt.
Scott Bolohan is a RedEye special contributor.
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