The day after a drubbing in his Bears debut on Sunday, Jay Cutler managed to smile while addressing the crowd at a Michigan Avenue Magazine party at the W Hotel City Center.
Everyone remembers the photos of Kyle Orton. Merely Google "Kyle Orton drunk," and a classic shot of Orton, face and shirt and neckbeard splayed with Jack Daniels -- and you know it's Jack Daniels because he's holding the bottle to the camera -- pops up in the sort of infinite way only photos on Google Images can.
If you didn't like that photo, or you thought it was a bad thing, then we can't relate. We loved Orton for his hard-partying ways. He did the exact same thing we'd be doing, were we an NFL player: get so obnoxiously drunk on whiskey that we can't tell we're being photographed in the middle of a college bar in Iowa City. He was a normal dude, you know?
If there's anything we can say about Jay Cutler, it's that we can't tell if we like him yet. But if he's willing to party the day after a Bears game -- even if that party is a W Hotel function, and Cutler appears to be completely sober in each of the photos snapped by NBC Chicago reporter Marcus Riley. Perhaps we have a neckbeard in training?
On a more serious note, and maybe this is taking it too seriously, but we like Cutler's day-after-disaster partying for football reasons. After the worst game of his life Cutler could easily have holed up in Halas Hall with a few notepads and a batch of film, but he chose not to. He isn't dwelling on the loss; he isn't freaking out about it. These party pics are those of a man who knows he will play better in the weeks to come. We like that.
But we do miss the Neckbeard. Could you spill a little Jameson on your shirt, Jay? Would that be so much to ask?
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.