By Dan Bernstein
Leave it to the Bears to have dual quarterback controversies leading up to a game in which they are not playing.
The acrid cloud of lies, accusations and discontent left by their playoff ouster has yet to dissipate. It lingers in Dallas, now, where reporters swarm like bees as they cover the Super Bowl and cover the covering of the covering.
A report in today’s Sun Times says Jay Cutler received a painkilling injection on his injured knee at halftime of the NFC Championship. It also confirms the belief that the injury occurred much earlier than previously thought – on the first play of the second quarter. Before the start of the third quarter, the team told Cutler to sit. He insisted on trying to play that first series, then came out when his knee buckled on a handoff to Matt Forte.
This information will not end the mythmaking of Cutler as quitter, especially when we hear perpetrators like Mark Schlereth admit freely (and gallingly) that the truth does not matter to them. Facts are mere annoyances to some.
You watch – this will be discredited by the weasels who swift-boated Cutler. And the Bears will continue to let it happen, since their handling of the whole story has been Clown College.
(A smart PR expert should have been taking good notes from the moment this begun. A seminar could be taught to students and/or teams on How Not To Manage An Injury To Your Highly-Disliked, Franchise QB.)
To be fair, HIPAA regulations prevent such a medical procedure from being discussed without the patient’s consent. It is possible the Bears wanted to say more, and Cutler would not let them. The source of the Sun Times story could be Cutler himself (unlikely), a Bears official speaking with Cutler’s permission (unlikely), or someone violating federal law who will probably not be discovered or punished (likely).
As this percolates, Caleb Hanie’s performance in relief that day has him talking big about his role. A 65.2 passer rating in a playoff game will do that, apparently. Or perhaps it’s his 39.6 career number.
When asked by the Tribune about his 3rd-string status behind a barely-ambulatory Todd Collins, Hanie said “That’s a touchy subject to answer…I was obviously mad.”
Now a free agent, Hanie is acting like one who thinks he has leverage. “I want to progress my career and become a starter and I just have to figure out where the best opportunity is for me to do that,” he said. “But I love Chicago.”
As long as Mike Martz is here, Chicago may not love him. Martz prefers experienced backups, particularly for practice. That’s why Collins was #2 and Hanie was running the scout team even though he was better skilled. Don’t be surprised if another veteran is signed, with the intention of placing him ahead of Hanie.
Amazing that what happened in just one game — really, one half of one game — has had such an impact on one team.
A surprisingly successful year swam through months of melodrama and led to a feverish playoff win. Then that loss, and all this continued absurdity.
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM.
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