Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears on the sideline in the third quarter after leaving the game with an injury against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
If you didn't know better, you would think Jay Cutler was on a tour to create goodwill between him and fans. First, he ran in a fun run for kids in Naperville. Next, he proposed to his reality TV star girlfriend with an engagement that made US Weekly and People magazine. Then this weekend, he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and talked to the Sun-Times about his plans to bring the team together for workouts.
Is this the same man who Chicago hated after he was pulled from the NFC Championship game? The man assailed on Twitter for being soft? The quarterback that drew even more ire for having the audacity to go shopping with his girlfriend days after injuring his knee? The athlete whom Mike Ditka has criticized repeatedly for his "body language?"
Yep. And it being the same man is exactly what Jay Cutler is: a study of contradictions.
Here's the thing about Jay Cutler -- he doesn't care if he has the perfect public image. His acts of charity, proposal to his girlfriend, and plans to workout with his teammates are being done because he wants them to happen. It's not about his public persona.
If it was, he would have conducted several interviews after injuring knee, getting out "his side of the story." He would work on his body language so that it showed a commanding leader. He would go after the lucrative endorsement deals that come with being the quarterback in a football-crazed town.
We're still looking for a bombastic hero who wants the love and affection that we so want to give. Cutler may be the Bear who can lead Chicago back to the Super Bowl, but he's not the guy who will head to a bar after the game to lead the crowd in "Bear Down, Chicago Bears." That makes him a difficult quarterback to support. How do you yell and cheer and buy the jersey of someone who doesn't really care if you do?