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Cutler Cleared To Start Against Seahawks

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Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler (photo credit: Getty)

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) – A week and a half after getting sacked nine times and suffering a concussion, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is officially back. CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke reports that Cutler has been cleared by team doctors and an independent physician to play against the Seahawks on Sunday.

Cutler said it was tough to sit out last week’s game against the Carolina Panthers because he said he felt fine to play.

“I wanted to play, but concussions are tricky,” Cutler said Wednesday. “You never really know for sure when you’re at 100 percent healthy. I talked with trainers and doctors and everyone just thought it would be better if I waited another week.”

The Bears said Cutler suffered the concussion on the final sack in the 2nd quarter against the New York Giants, but based on Cutler’s comments Wednesday, it sounded like it happened earlier in the game, even though he couldn’t pinpoint which play caused the concussion.

“There were some moments in the second quarter where I was probably not completely aware of what was going on,” Cutler said. “Dizziness, general fogginess of your surroundings; you’re not as sharp. Your awareness is a little bit down; all of that stuff combined.”

There was one sack early in the quarter when Osi Umenyiora ran past tight end Greg Olsen and nailed Cutler from behind, the ball popping out and into the arms of center Olin Kreutz.

Cutler got up and took a few steps toward the wrong sideline before correcting himself.

Soon after, he had what appeared to be a dazed look when the TV cameras showed him sitting on the sideline, and his decision-making was questionable. Cutler held onto the ball too long at times, didn’t see open receivers, and Collins was behind center when the second half started.

“I don’t think it helped,” Cutler said. “But I think I still knew what was going on. I still knew what the hot reads were, still knew where guys were at in the field.”

Cutler said doctors “wanted to make completely sure” he was ready before clearing him Monday. He’s among several players who have sat out with a concussion, including fellow quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and Matt Moore. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers might join the list after absorbing a helmet-to-helmet hit late in Sunday’s overtime loss at Washington.

Cutler practiced on a limited basis last week after being sacked nine times in the first half of a loss to the New York Giants. The Bears beat Carolina last weekend, even though backup Todd Collins threw four interceptions before getting benched for Caleb Hanie.

“It’s tough,” Cutler said. “This league is all about battling through injuries. But obviously, concussions and your head is something you have to take pretty seriously.”

Having Cutler back is giving the whole team a boost this week.

“He’s our leader. He’s our guy and elite quarterback. He means everything to us,” said center Olin Kreutz.

“Were excited about getting Jay back,” said defensive tackle Tommie Harris. “(Backup QB Todd Collins) and those guys did a good job, but this guy (Jay) it’s built around him and good to have him back.”

Cutler said the concussion won’t change the way he plays one bit. He was also adamant that his diabetes had no effect on how he felt last week and he doesn’t anticipate seeing any more doctors this week before he takes on the Seahawks Sunday.

Cutler had made 57 straight starts since Denver turned to him as a rookie in 2006, and had never missed a start due to injury, before a brutal beating against the Giants stopped that streak. It also wiped out much of the goodwill the Bears had created during a 3-0 start.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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