Is Jay Cutler the NFL's Least Likable Player?

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Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is not likable. On this point, everyone in the NFL--perhaps with the exception of former coach Mike Shanahan--can agree. But does his penchant for demanding trades, canoodling with Internet celebrities, and throwing wildly inopportune interceptions really make him more odious than, say, Michael Vick?

ESPN columnist Rick Reilly certainly isn't cutting him any slack. In anticipation of Chicago's home playoff game against Seattle this weekend, Reilly likens Cutler to "the kind of guy you just want to pick up and throw into a swimming pool," writing that in league circles the young quarterback is "about as popular as gout." Reilly wonders why this is.

Is it because he never makes eye contact?

Is it his seeming inability to answer a question without using "y'know"? (He once used it 57 times in a five-minute interview with the NFL Network.)

Is it his penchant for making things difficult?

To illustrate his point, Reilly turns to an interview Cutler recently gave:

Reporter #1: So, did you enjoy the week off?

Cutler: Yeah, it's nice to kick back and watch the games.

Reporter #2: Wait. Last week, you said you never watch the games.

Cutler (disgusted): I said you could watch the games. I didn't say I watched the games. You've got to listen.

Of course, Reilly admits, Cutler is capable of non-jerkiness. This is not to be confused with kindness, exactly. Rather, Cutler's "a giving person who does things behind the scenes" but then "hates it when he gets found out." During Christmas, the quarterback "brought presents for an entire ward of sick hospital kids" then "refused to discuss it" when a reporter from the Sun-Times asked about it. In other words, Jay Cutler is the kind of grouch who sometimes does nice things, but does them grumpily. Reilly quotes former turned radio host Tom Waddle on this topic: "Deep, deep down, I think he's a really good guy." Responds Reilly: "Maybe. But why do we have to look that deep?"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.