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Bears Mon Jan 24 2011
In the past 24 hours, I have replayed yesterday's Packers vs. Bears game over and over in my head. The one thing that keeps jumping out is that in football you win and lose as a team. It has also shown me that one storyline can truly tarnish six months of hard work. Instead of tipping our hats to the Bears, we are worrying about MRI results! Today will go down as the BIGGEST doctor's appointment in Chicago history, with people thinking or saying Jay Cutler better really be hurt. People keep asking me how I feel about the situation. Hold on, let me take second.
OK, I'm back and level-headed. Just thinking about the game gets me fired back up.
I think it's very unfair to question someone's toughness. Especially to question this man, who was sacked a league-leading 52 times during the regular season. Some of the shots he took I thought to myself, "he can't get up from that one" but he did over and over. The past two years he has been on his back more than upright.
I feel as fans of the game sometimes we look at pro football players as super heroes. With that being said we, yes, I'm including myself, are spoiled. For 13 years we had a player who wore No. 34 with Payton across the back of his jersey. Walter Payton played through everything. He was the exception to the rule, but the one thing I know for sure is pain affects everyone differently.
The pain Maurice Jones-Drew can play with is different than what Jay can play with, although I've seen Jay take some harder hits than Mo. Myself, I was born into a family and raised by a man who said sometimes you have to play hurt, but even my dad would recognize that "hurt" means something different for everyone. My dad had the "Never Die Easy" mentality his entire life -- it was instilled in him as a young child.
Could Jay have played? I don't know. Do I blame him? NO WAY. But somewhere down the line in Jay's football career someone might have let him do whatever he wanted. Someone might have said, "No, son, it's OK take whatever steps you want in your five-step drop." Someone might have said, "No, you don't have to work out, just get your lift in another time."
Those things I just mentioned will scar a person for life. People say the game of football is half physical and half mental, something I truly believe. I'm not bashing Jay, I'm not upset with Jay, I just want Jay to be the best for himself, and our hometown Chicago Bears.
He is a great talent. I believe in him and the sky is the limit for this young man. I'm a part of the Bears family so that means he's a brother of mine. Instead of waiting for the MRI results to come in, this city should have had his back. I want his place in history to be as one of the best QBs to ever grace this city, not as the guy who made Chicago's biggest doctor's appointment.
Jarrett Payton played in the NFL and CFL and now plays for the Chicago Slaughter of the Indoor Football League. He also hosts "The Jarrett Payton Show" on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon at ChicagolandSportsRadio.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PaytonSun.