There are conflicting reports over whether or not Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will start the game for the Bears’ against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith indicated after Monday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers that Cutler will be ready to play against the Vikings. A sign that Cutler may have already received clearance to play against the Vikings may be the fact that the starting quarterback participated in his weekly radio show on Tuesday.
NFL rules prohibits a concussed player from speaking with the media until after he has received clearance to play from not only the team’s training staff, but as well as an independent physician. Cutler indicated on Tuesday that he feels normal, but the quarterback would not comment on whether or not he has been cleared to return to the field.
When asked if he’s been cleared to play, Cutler said: “We’re going through the process. Met with them Monday morning, the doctor. Got a few more hoops to jump through, so we’ll see how it goes this week.” ESPN Chicago
It is entirely possible that Cutler was cleared to return to practice. Remember, though, there is a difference in being cleared for practice and being cleared for a game. At, least when it comes to concussed players. The first clearance for a concussed player to receive is clearance to return to practice. That clearance allows the player to participate in non-contact drills, and once the player completes those drills without any setbacks, they are then allowed to participate in contact drills. It is not until after the player goes through contact drills without any symptoms of being concussed that they will be cleared to play in the team’s next game. Cutler indicated on Tuesday that he and the team are going through the process. Cutler did not practice leading up to the 49ers’ game. For that reason, one can understand why Cutler says he is not sure if he will be on the field as the Bears’ starting quarterback against the Vikings. That is because Cutler has yet to go through both non-contact and contact drills. Cutler can not be sure if he will play on Sunday until after he participates in those drills.
Nonetheless, I would certainly expect that Cutler will be the team’s starting quarterback against the Vikings this Sunday.