CHICAGO – Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher came to injured teammate Jay Cutler's defense after learning several current and former players had questioned how badly the quarterback was hurt.
Cutler injured his left knee in the first half of Sunday's NFC title game against Green Bay and left for good after the first series of the third quarter. He was replaced by Todd Collins, who was replaced by Caleb Hanie in the Bears' 21-14 loss.
"Jay was hurt. I don't question his toughness, he's tough as hell," Urlacher said. "He's one of the toughest players on our football team. He doesn't complain when he gets hit. He goes out there and plays every Sunday, he practices every single day, so no we don't question his toughness."
There were more than a few comments on Twitter when it became clear Cutler would not be back.
"If I'm on chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room!" Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett tweeted.
"Folks i never question a players injury but i do question a players heart," wrote Deion Sanders, former cornerback and current NFL analyst.
Bears coach Lovie Smith grew testy after being asked about Cutler's injury.
"He hurt his knee and he was out, all right?" Smith said. "There's nothing else for me to tell you on that. I don't know exactly when it happened, he couldn't go and that was that."
Added Urlacher: "Nothing like jealous people at home watching. Players around the league you said, right? Yeah, I love jealous people when they are watching our game on TV while their season is over."