When last we saw Jay Cutler, he was sitting alone on the bench in the NFC Championship game, unapproachable, his NFL brethren questioning his toughness via Twitter.
"That’s all new to me," Cutler said upon reporting to Bears training camp. "It's never been an issue for me, I’ve never been questioned about it. So I didn’t really know how to react to it. I know that anyone who’s played with me or coached me has never questioned that."
How did he feel being the subject of social media mayhem on Twitter?
"With Twitter and Facebook and social media these days, things just come out of guys’ mouths, it's just instantaneous, you can’t take it back," Cutler said. "As long as I have those guys in my locker room behind me I really can’t worry about anything else."
And if his toughness being questioned wasn't bad enough, his social life played out in the gossip pages. A broken wedding engagement to reality TV star Kristin Cavallari became public chatter and entertainment news. Cutler just wants to think about football. That's why he was the first to report to Bears camp in Bourbonnais.
“I’m in camp, excited about where we are now with this team and stuff, just going to submerse myself in football and move from there.”
After five NFL seasons of scrutiny over his play, his relationship with his coaches and even his pouting faces at press conferences, maybe just maybe this is the New Jay? Lovie Smith implores, "We need to move past those questions on Jay. Jay is in camp just like every other QB in the league, trying to lead his team to a championship."
But with the departure of team leader and captain Olin Kreutz, the Bears are expecting Cutler to step up.
"The leader of your football team needs to be your quarterback. Jay Cutler will be," Lovie Smith said.
Bears fans ... and the NFL will see.