This month, ESPN the Magazine has a big feature on Jay Cutler (which you can read here if you have Insider access). The essay, "Mr. Grumpy Pants Comes to Chicago", is not very complimentary toward the Bears new quarterback. A snippet:
During Jay Cutler's first week of practice as the Bears' new quarterback, a rookie wide receiver dared to shag a few of his passes with just one hand. And even though this rookie, third-round pick Juaquin Iglesias, had been lectured a few times by coaches about the importance of proper technique, he was slow to break his annoying little habit. So when it happened again one afternoon, Cutler followed his pass upfield, darted toward Iglesias and screamed into his face mask: "If you ever do that again I will never throw another f--ing pass to you. EVER!"
Iglesias checked his shorts. Then the rookie looked at his teammates and back to the equally stunned coaches to see if Cutler was putting him on. He was not, and just to be clear, the quarterback shot Iglesias one more look. It was the raging, flushed visage of utter disdain. When Cutler gets this way, and he gets this way often, he looks a bit like an annoyed viper -- with a frat boy haircut and a slight double chin. Of course, it's also a look that gets results.
That last line says it all. If Jay Cutler's apparent not-so-niceness completely alienates him from his teammates, obviously it's going to hurt his ability to win. But if Cutler is like this, presumably he was like this on Denver, and he was a good player for Denver. A very good player. So maybe that's not such a concern in the first place.
More than that, though, we find it hard to believe Cutler is the first jerk in the history of the NFL. He might be unnaturally more of a jerk than most NFL players, sure, but if you don't think the Bears already have plenty of guys on their team that you wouldn't want to invite to your dinner party, you're fooling yourself. The NFL is a harsh business, filled with gigantic egos. To think Cutler's is the first -- or that his is so big it could upset the entire balance of the Bears' season -- probably gives Cutler too much credit.
Bottom line: Cutler can be a jerk all he wants. If the Bears win an NFL title, no one will care. We hardly care now.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.