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Ed Berliner

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Jay Cutler Brings Out a Yellow Streak in Fellow Players

Posted: 01/27/11 08:24 PM ET

The former football players who question the heart and commitment of Jay Cutler come off to some as little more than media hacks seeking to say something outrageous and suit their own ego.

The Chicago Bears fans who burn Cutler jerseys and scream that he's a quitter are venting over coming so close and falling short to a better team. Key word there being "team."

Denver Broncos fans mocking Cutler for the Bears' failure in the NFC Title game are still smarting from the Mike Shanahan years, and then being dealt a coaching hand led by the NFL poster child for monogrammed diapers.

The most entertaining and ludicrous are the comments being made by people who have on their lifetime athletic resume lawn mowing, bowling, attic cleaning and "World of Warcraft."

Don't start seeking to crush me about the athletic benefit of bowling, kids. Not until Funyuns, beef jerky and nachos are banned from the playing area.

Proving that the issue surrounding the Bears QB and his NFC Title game injury have taken on much more than just a surreal nature, we also have Cutler being defended by "The Round Mound of Rebound". Once upon a time in my 137 years of covering sports, (yes, I was there when the Boston Red Stockings won their second consecutive title in the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players league. Those 617 innings pitched by Al Spalding weren't bad for a 23-year-old kid), I promised there was one thing I would never do.

Agree with anything Charles Barkley said.

Until now.

Barkley has a wide orifice under his nose and loves to open up. Bombastic. Preposterous. Inflammatory. Racially on the edge. But everything he says is honest and, more often than not, backed up by interesting depth. The man thinks before he speaks. Just not what many people want to agree with.

This time, Sir Charles strayed into Jay Cutler's world, took on his sporting peers, and used that big body to leave more than a few of them tasting virtual hardwood.

And he did it by naming names. Names of those players who have absolutely no right whatsoever to question the heart of any athlete, much less that of Cutler.

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is a very talented player. On that there is no doubt. His own level of what it takes to be a winner and part of a team contending for a title? Lacking in any measure of this trait is also not in doubt.

Jones-Drew took what is currently the route of those who hide behind the convenient media, therefore not having to face the TV cameras, the radio microphones or even the newspaper recorders. He sent out a series of "tweets", which in the case of some people need to be sub-titled the "twits", insuring he would insert his own name into the fray and glean some cheap publicity out of another player's misfortune.

"All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee... I played the whole season on one...".

Indeed. Jones-Drew also missed the final two games of the recent season with a bad knee, something he conveniently failed to mention. His 2008 season was less than stellar, but in large part due to key members of the Jaguars offensive line being busted with injuries of their own. Jones-Drew, of course, never called out his teammates. To do so would have been unprofessional, and likely get him shipped to someplace worse than Jacksonville.

I hear Oakland's not interested. But I digress.

"Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now... When the going gets tough........QUIT.."

Maurice apparently still trying to explain away the Karl Dorrell years at UCLA.

Jones-Drew doesn't even have the conviction to stick with his slap at a fellow player. After being tanked by Barkley and plenty more, and allegedly (so he says) receiving death threats for the comments, he laughed it off and finally told legitimate reporters that he was not taking shots at Jay Cutler.

Uh huh.

To hide behind technology to insult someone is cowardly. To then refuse to stand by your comments and arrogantly backtrack is the mark of someone who has more cowardly traits than he may care to admit.

Darnell Dockett is a talented defensive tackle for the St. Louis Cardinals. About the closest he has come to a Super Bowl is getting the NFL notice that comes around offering players tickets for the big game. Seeking to capitalize on his "fame", Dockett joined the "tweating" ranks as well in knocking out a creative masterpiece.

"Jay Cutler thinking out loud* mannn I'm glad he threw that pic to #90 cuz I did not want to get blame for this Lost!"

In case you haven't gleaned it by now, grammar and spelling are not pre-requisites to be a "twit".

How empty our lives would be if there were to be no quick missive from Deion Sanders, another from the very talented pool of former players who can't get enough of hearing themselves expound when not asked.

"Folks i never question a players injury but I do question a players heart. Truth."

Hey, Deion. Put a do-rag in it. Truth.

What is now apparent, and what any former player knows, is that the network TV cameras capture seconds in the sideline life of every player. These pictures have no reference point. No facts. No explanations. No way of knowing what is actually going on.

Providing, instead, another example of the instant media and rapid-mouth society we have become. If you can't make a knowledgeable comment based on facts, spit something out controversial. No one will question you because you either used to be a player or currently sitting home pining to be in Cutler's colors and get what might be your one and only shot at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

Hoisting an ego is a lot easier.

The most amusing point in this contrived controversy does indeed belong to Jones-Drew. That macho football player calling out one of his peers for not being macho. Not being "a man", if you will. Failing to "man up".

Perhaps the greatest and most important part of being a "real man" is owning up to your mistakes. Sucking it up and admitting you were wrong. Jones-Drew puffs out his electronic chest, is called on it, and makes a lame excuse. I guess when the going gets tough, you turn into a coward.

Fans will be fans, and for being fans of a sport that will charge $200 for standing room at the Super Bowl, outside the stadium, they deserve to hack and hammer away. However, methinks the bulk of them are wising up to the bad opinions, false heroics, cowardly verbal attacks, hysterical malaprops, boorish bravado and self-aggrandizing bile being poured on-screen, on the airwaves and the Internet by these current players, retired players, and boorish self-appointed "experts".

Legendary comedian George Carlin used to have a character named "Biff Burns", who started out his radio spot by announcing, "I call 'em the way I see 'em. And if I don't see 'em, I make 'em up".

Rest easy, George. Biff Burns is alive and well in the NFL.