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Getting to the root of the fiction that Jay Cutler isn’t tough

The origin of the idea that Jay Cutler is a wimp is worth revisiting, if only as a reminder that idiots still roam this earth and that labels are hard to shake.

Anyone who saw Cutler smash into Minnesota safety Harrison Smith on a touchdown run Sunday knows that of all the things the quarterback might be, wimpy isn’t one of them. If you had paid attention to all the times in his career he got back up after being savagely hit, you already knew that.

The Jay-as-soft perception began in earnest in 2009, when former Bears receiver Bobby Wade revealed during a radio interview what Brian Urlacher thought of his new quarterback.

“I don’t want to get (Urlacher) in trouble, but it wasn’t what (the Bears) expected,’’ Wade said. “Pretty much he said Jay Cutler was a pussy for the most part.’’

Urlacher denied saying such a thing, but the soft tag took off at a sprint from there.

It ran all the way to the 2011 NFC Championship Game. Cutler left with a knee injury early in the third quarter and was immediately attacked by a flock of tweets from fellow football players. That’s when the real damage was done.

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett: “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!”

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Kirk Morrison: “If my knee was hurt or acl/mcl/pcl sprain, I would not be standing on the sideline.”

Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew: “All I’m saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee … I played the whole season on one.”

Oakland quarterback Bruce Gradkowski: “Is cutler still ur starter next year? Did the players give up on him?”

What the outsiders didn’t know was that Cutler had a tear in his left medial collateral ligament, an injury that usually requires two to four weeks to heal. But it was too late. Cutler would be known as the guy who took himself out of the most important game of his life. He was a football deserter. Critics still bring it up. Critics who are clueless.

You can say a lot of things about Cutler, but you can’t say he was born with a toughness deficiency. It’s the one thing people have gotten all wrong about him.