Lovie Smith: Jay Cutler 'is a tough guy'
Updated at 4:55 p.m.
Chicago Bears Coach Lovie Smith lashed out at the "just-add-tweets-and-stir" criticism of quarterback Jay Cutler, who was knocked out of the NFC championship game Sunday with a knee injury.
"I haven't seen it before. It seems like if you're in that fraternity you would be stepping up for your fellow man. Especially when you don't know. You don't know what's going on," Smith said. "As far as Jay, Jay didn't take himself out of the game. If you're going to attack somebody, you should be attacking me, as a head football coach, and our medical staff. We're the ones. He wanted to go back in. He was injured and went back in in the second half. So I see it as the complete opposite of how it's being portrayed right now."
Cutler has a Grade II tear, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report, an injury that typically takes three-to-four weeks to heal. The decision to keep Cutler on the sideline after the first series of the second half belonged to coaches, not to Cutler. Had the Bears won, Smith said "it would have been questionable whether he could have gone" in the Super Bowl in two weeks because of the injury.
"For most of you it seems like the storyline has been about whether our quarterback is a tough guy. Our quarterback is a tough guy. He wanted to win the game as much as anyone."
And as for the incoming fire from Twitter?
"We don't have any trouble with Jay Cutler and what he brings to the table. I can't wait for our future together leading our team," Smith said. "That's on the guys that chose to do that. What type of guy would do that? We're down right now. We lost the game. We're going through quite a bit, so to dogpile a little bit, you have to talk to those guys about that."
| January 24, 2011; 2:28 PM ET
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