Jay Cutler's lame and so is anybody who cares

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Jay Cutler's lame and so is anybody who cares

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

This just in: Jay Cutler is whack.

Just kidding!

This isn't a newsflash. People have disliked the Bears quarterback since before he was the Bears quarterback. I'm not going to say that the doctor who pulled baby Cutler out of the womb wanted to slap him across the face instead of the butt when he saw this:

...but Rick Reilly is.

Yes, the ESPN carnival worker took time off from all that to write about how unlikable Cutler is.

I actually like this column.

The anecdotes are interesting; they paint a fresh landscape of Cutler-Sucks-Ville. By the end of the story my upper lip was curled into a snarl: "Only a total jerk would date a member from an MTV reality series" I growled. And that was even after I learned Kristin Cavallari was on "The OC" and not "16 and Pregnant."

Regardless. Reilly's bottom line was that Cutler's a meanie and Chicago fans should be worried because the QB's not switching gears anytime soon.

But why should he?

Why does a quarterback have to be a nice guy? Why does he have to give a full logistical report on his interceptions? I've watched Peyton Manning shut down on a question like that right in front of my face.

Why does Cutler have to bow down and lick-shine John Elway's shoes? True, the kid wasn't just refusing to fall over himself to be polite; he was downright rude. But should Bears fans be wringing their hands over that fact right now?

Their team is in the playoffs.

I want to meet the Bears fan who, if Chicago beats Seattle on Sunday, will sob uncontrollably because Cutler didn't smile and giggle after every throw (or sack).

I want to meet the Bears fan who won't even watch the game because Cutler doesn't look "really, truly" happy to be playing the game of football.

Do you think Chicago cares? I mean, really?

Reilly says yes. He uses this quote, from former Bear and sports radio host Tom Waddle, as 'evidence': "In Chicago, they want to love you. They want to make a connection with you. Any kind of connection. But Jay doesn't really care."

Let's just say Chicago wins the Super Bowl

I doubt anybody in the crowd would stand up and scream, "NO."

"NO, NO NO. GET THAT LOMBARDI TROPHY OUT OF MY FACE. JAY CUTLER AND THE CITY OF CHICAGO DO NOT DESERVE THIS BECAUSE HE IS NOT A NICE MAN."

There is no way in hell that's going to happen. And none of the fans would holler such a ridiculous statement afterward, either.

Trust me, I'm not volunteering to interview the guy. I'm also not advocating that people have personal expectations for athletes. It's wonderful when they save three-legged puppies for funsies, give homeless people piggy-back rides to shelters, or look like Wally Sczerbiack (it's a goodwill effort, believe that).

But the thing of the thing? They don't have to. They have to be good at sports.

That might be actually be a Cutler debate worth having in Chi-Town.

Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

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Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

Monday may have marked a low point in the relationship between the NFL and its on-field employees.

The fight between the league and its best player of the past two decades was in the headlines again. Tom Brady, tied to the NFL’s bumper and dragged around for almost 500 days, had his NFLPA legal team baring its teeth again in the Deflategate mess. The eye-gouging and hair-pulling in that imbroglio over a puff of air allegedly being removed from footballs has cost the league and the PA about $25M so far.

Meanwhile, NFLPA President Eric Winston was saying the league "cannot be trusted to do the right thing when it involves players.” That comment flowed from a Congressional report alleging the NFL tried to exert influence over who would conduct studies regarding Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the condition that’s been blamed for a myriad of former players winding up addled, incapacitated or dead.

I say “may have marked” because the relationship between the two sides has cratered so frequently over the past two years, it’s hard to know exactly what the low point has been. Or how much lower it can go.

And, with the 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement only half done, there is ample opportunity for things to get worse. Because, really, why would they get better?

With the NFL’s owners safe knowing that their emperor/puppet/human shield is still in place to take the hits and do their dirty work, there’s seemingly no groundswell among that group to relieve Roger Goodell of his duties. Despite reports of growing owner discontent over Deflategate, the Ray Rice investigation, and an appeal of a case in which the league was found to have withheld $100M from players, there is no Sword of Damocles dangling over the league to cut ties with Goodell.

He was able to oversee the league’s re-entry in Los Angeles (though that “triumph” was fraught with owner acrimony), is going to get a game played in China, keeps edging closer to getting a franchise based in Europe and may even land one in Las Vegas, has enhanced the league’s reach on social media (the announcement of some games being aired on Twitter) and keeps making billions hand over fist.

Goodell’s presence won’t be an impediment to a new labor deal getting done for another five years. By then, when the issues of Goodell’s role in player discipline, drug testing and his relationship with the union come to the fore, the owners might feel compelled to cut him loose after 15 seasons in charge.

But even then, the league’s owners will be in the business of pointing out to the players how good they’ve had it under the current CBA. The league’s salary cap structure – decried as a disaster in the first years of the deal – has seen the cap grow from $120M in 2011 to $155M this year. Players’ practice time and the wear and tear on their bodies has been reduced thanks to the new limits on contact enacted. Benefits are better. Retired players are getting better care. Players have more off-field marketing opportunities with companies that want to affix themselves to the most popular sport in the United States.

As bad as the headlines have been for Goodell, in five years (or probably fewer since negotiations on a new CBA will begin in 2020) who will remember the disaster that’s been Deflategate? How inspired will players be to miss games and paychecks for the satisfaction of knowing Goodell can’t be his own arbitrator anymore?

To sum it up, Goodell’s dark disciplinary reign may well continue unabated for a few more seasons. But as long as the league rains money on its players through the end of this decade, the clock isn’t ticking on Goodell and the owners in the form of labor strife.

Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

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Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith joined the Dan Patrick Show -- hosted by Ross Tucker on Monday -- to discuss the petition that was eventually filed to the Second Circuit requesting a rehearing for Tom Brady's case. 

During the discussion, Smith insisted that Brady made a settlement offer long ago that might've resolved things. But because the NFL wanted more, a deal was never struck. Now here we are, almost 500 days since the AFC Championship Game in January of 2015, and Deflategate is still a living, breathing thing. 

"Tom's a standup guy," Smith said. "And I think he made a settlement offer to resolve this. The league chose not to take it, and that's where we are . . . I don't want to go into details, but it was an incredibly generous offer to resolve this. The league asked for something that no man should agree to do."

Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran explained on Monday's episode of Quick Slants that Brady was willing to accept a one-game suspension for a lack of cooperation at the outset of the investigation. But the league was looking for a face to take the blame, Curran explained. 

Both Jim McNally and John Jastremski were willing to take the heat off of Brady, but Brady insisted that he would not throw anyone else under the bus because he believed that there was no wrongdoing on his part or anyone else's when it came to the preparation of game footballs. 

With no one offered up to shoulder the blame, the NFL declined to agree to any proposal from Brady's camp. At that point, it would have been almost impossible to predict that this case would one day be only a step or two from getting the US Supreme Court involved. 

Yet here we are.