By Lauren Cook
Its a familiar playoff predicament: an NFL quarterback leaves the field with an injury, hes checked by the training staff and, eventually, a decision whether to return to the game is made.
In 2011, Jay Cutler seemingly made the wrong one. After playing almost the entire first half, Cutler left the field with a knee injury and didnt return. He watched from the sidelines as his Chicago Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers and were eliminated. If Cutler could have predicted the oncoming backlash, odds are he wouldve chosen to play and be carried off in a cart.
"Cmon cutler u have to come back," Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes tweeted. "This is the NFC championship if u didn't know!"
He was joined by Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett: If Im on chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes into the locker room.
"All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee I played the whole season on one," Maurice Jones-Drew tweeted.
The publics reaction was swift, vicious and not likely to be forgotten any time soon - even though it was later determined that Cutler tore his MCL.
The widespread criticism of Cutler could have impacted Robert Griffin IIIs decision to play through his own knee injury in the Redskins recent NFC wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks; where he eventually tore his ACL and MCL. He underwent reconstructive surgery Wednesday.
Griffins choice ignited a familiar NFL debate: Is it more desirable for a player to admit his injury and let an able player take his place, or should he play through the pain until hes forced to leave the field on a cart?
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan believes its the latter, or at least it should be. And judging from Cutlers experience, hes in the majority.
Is this extreme dedication to the game worth the end result? Perhaps we should ask Griffin.