Jay Cutler has been called a lot of things during his up-and-down career, but “tough” usually is not one of them.

It might have started with some derogatory comments Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher made about his new teammate in 2009.

But Cutler’s “soft” tag definitely took hold during the 2011 NFC Championship when the Bears quarterback had to leave the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and his team trailing 14-0.

As the Packers went on to win 21-14, players and fans mercilessly ripped into the sidelined Cutler on social media because, you know, old-school football mentality says you get carted off the field in a big game or you keep playing.

Now, as Cutler ends his short-lived retirement to play for the Miami Dolphins this season, some players and coaches are painting a different picture. They are marveling as much about No. 6’s toughness as they normally do about his cannon-type arm.

Bears coach John Fox said of his old signal caller: “He was a smart, tough guy that worked hard.”

New teammate Jermon Bushrod, who blocked for Cutler on the Bears, called him “tough as nails.”

But the greatest compliment of all came from old nemesis and new Dolphins teammate Ndamukong Suh, who said: “I don’t like any quarterbacks, but he was one guy definitely I had respect for because he took hits and never cried, never complained.”

Of anyone, Suh should know. Take a look at the shots the former Detroit Lion administered to Cutler when they met twice a year.