The 2010 season couldn’t have ended much worse for Jay Cutler amid the Twitter firestorm after his departure from the NFC Championship game. People have long memories, so much so that Jay has been voted among the most disliked players in the NFL according to a Neilson E-Poll published by Forbes .
As for Cutler, the current Chicago Bears quarterback, not only did he feud with some staff and teammates during his days in Denver, his image took a big hit after he removed himself from last year’s Bears-Packers NFC Championship game with a knee injury that some considered questionable. It may be patently unfair – only Cutler knows how badly his knee hurt – but the sight of him riding a stationary bike on the sideline didn’t fit the mold of a warrior who would do anything to be out there for such a big game. The episode even drew critical tweets from several NFL players. “There was a feeling Cutler quit on his team,” says Master, “He took a lot of abuse.” Quitting on the team isn’t a crime, but the recovery period can be just as long.
Cutty ranks behind Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress, Ben Roethlisberger and Albert Haynesworth. Not bad for a guy to finish behind two convicted felons, an alleged rapist and an overprices free agent who’s been cut from his last two teams. But Cutler must have gotten a makeover in the offseason and I’m not talking about the pink pants kind of makeover, I’m talking about a PR makeover. I’m not sure if it’s his reality starlet girlfriend/fiance/ass admirer or what, but Jay has definitely taken on a new persona in 2011.
He popped on ESPN 1000 with morning show hosts Waddle and Silvy on Wednesday to talk about the offense, his relationship with Mike Martz, picking up the tab on Earl Bennett’s $5000 fine for his orange shoes, etc. He even opened by congratulating the newly engaged Silvy. When Silvy thanked him and ask if Jay had any advice, Cutler offered a laughing “no” after his own engagement came to an abrupt end before his rekindled romance with Cavallari. Give the podcast a listen here.
Cutler’s been affable, engaging and his image seems to have taken a 180 from last season. Sure, TV cameras caught him telling Mike Martz to F off, but who hasn’t wanted to say that to his boss at one point or another. Overall, he’s acted like more of a leader and just carries himself differently. Is that the work of a publicist? Maybe it’s Cavallari? Maybe it’s just a three game winning streak and his first game as a Bears where he wasn’t sacked. Whatever the reason, I like it.