Say what you will about Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler on the field, but off the field he's doing some good things. Earlier today the NFL and the Chicago Bears announced that Cutler was nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man Of The Year Award.
Each team nominates one player from their current roster for both "outstanding community service activities as well as excellence on the field."
Coming off his worst game of the season, Cutler may not be a popular choice for the nomination, but he did just set a personal best with his 28th touchdown pass of the season and he's on pace to reach 4,000 yards passing.
If Cutler wins the award he will be the 2nd consecutive Bear to do so after Charles Tillman won in 2013.
Here's what the Chicago Bears submitted about Jay Cutler with their nomination.
A nine year veteran in the NFL, Jay has shown great passion and dedication for the sport of football. Jay, in his sixth season with the Bears, ranks first in franchise history in career passer rating (84.6), completions (1,556), attempts (2,538) and passing yards (18,018) and is second in passing touchdowns (125). He has also found his passion and purpose outside of football. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 24, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has made it his mission to help children learn how to live with diabetes. He is the founder of the Jay Cutler Foundation, which helps bring awareness to the disease, funds diabetes screening clinics and helps children with Type 1 diabetes stay active.
How has your nominee put the needs of members in the community ahead of their own?
Since diagnosis, Jay has continually mentioned how fortunate he was to have the resources to manage the disease and as an adult, to comprehend his diagnosis/treatment plan. He has made it his mission to make the process easier for children, while educating them. Kids who are playing sports have the added challenge of managing their insulin levels while competing. Jay can relate to this challenge. In order to continue playing football at the highest level, he had to learn how to self-administer insulin and monitor his blood-sugar while competing.
What is your nominee's next initiative?
While a majority of Jay's focus has been supporting young children with diabetes through camps and events, he hopes to expand his college scholarship program by increasing the scholarship amount. Jay began assisting high school athletes who have diabetes by granting them college scholarships through the Diabetes Scholars Foundation. This past year he granted two Jay Cutler Athletic Scholarships. Jay also will continue to donate Bears tickets to kids through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
When did your nominee start supporting this cause?
Jay was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2008 and shortly afterward revised the mission statement of his public charity, which he started the previous year, to focus on raising awareness of diabetes and helping afflicted children. Since then, the Jay Cutler Foundation has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants. The charity also has provided grant money to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, among others.
This is an easy time to drag Jay through the coals, but keep in mind some of the good stuff he's done on this comment thread.
As a wise man recently said to me in regards to Jay Cutler, "Football is what he does, not who he is."