Jay Cutler's early exit from Sunday's NFC Championship game elicited a passionate response from former and current NFL players who felt the Bears quarterback should've played through the injury. The criticism clearly stung Cutler, who according to SI's Jim Trotter , had to bite his lip as tears welled up in his eyes after hearing about the negative words. Cutler would later say of the decision to sit, "I knew it was probably better that I didn't (play). I know my knee. I know my body.'' Here is a sampling of what other players are saying about the Bears quarterback.
2 of 15AP
"There was no decision at all. He was injured. He was hurt and he couldn't go. The trainers and doctors ... made that decision."
3 of 15Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
"Im telling u in the playoffs u must drag me off the field. All the medicine in pro lockerooms this dude comes out! I apologize bear fans! ... Folks i never question a players injury but i do question a players heart.
4 of 15Scott Boehm/Getty Images
"BEARS fans I am so SORRY, I have to be crawling and cant get up to come off field,Josh Freeman would not come out, MEDS ARE AVAILABLE." "HEY there is no medicine for a guy with no guts and heart."
5 of 15Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
"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!"
6 of 15 Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
"Cutler u little siSsy...how does it feel that ur back up's backup is the only 1 that can put pts on the board!I bet cutler comes back now!" "Cutler...wut a sissy! This is the NFC Championship game! Guaranteed if it was brett farve..he would still be in the game!"
7 of 15David E. Klutho/SI
"Nothing like jealous people who are sitting home watching. Players around the league you said, right? Yeah, love jealous people when they're watching our game on TV while their season is over."
8 of 15Joe Robbins/Getty Images
"You dont not play in the NFC championship game cuz your knee hurt, only way I'd come out is if my knee is jus shattered" "Dear Cutler, you need to finish this game!! If ur knee hurt, take it to the locker room #carpediem"
9 of 15Tom DiPace/SI
"All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee... I played the whole season on one."
10 of 15Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for DirecTV
"As a guy how had 20 knee surgeries you'd have to drag me out on a stretcher to Leave a championship game!"
11 of 15 George Gojkovich/Getty Images
"Is cutler still ur starter next year? Did the players give up on him?"
12 of 15Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images
"If he was my teammate I would be looking at him sideways."
13 of 15 Scott Boehm/Getty Images
"I will defend my QB all day. He was injured and he couldn't go. No one on our team questions his toughness POINT BLANK! He's a tough SOB." "To all of u assaulting Jay's toughness. Are we 11-5 and NFC North Div Champs without him? No I think not. Please think before tweeting!"
14 of 15Christian Petersen/Getty Images
"Cmon cutler u have to come back. This is the NFC championship if u didn't know!"
15 of 15Scott Boehm/Getty Images
"Jay Cutler better go put some Tussin on that knee and get back out there."
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