Comparing Brees to Cutler not fair

January, 25, 2011
1/25/11
10:39
AM ET
Although their season has been over for a couple of weeks, the New Orleans Saints suddenly are back in the spotlight.

It comes after Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in which Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a knee injury and left the game. It also comes due to the fact that New Orleans fullback Heath Evans went on national television and claimed his quarterback, Drew Brees, played six weeks this season with a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee.

Cutler suffered an MCL injury and already was drawing criticism from some fans for leaving the game. Cutler never has been a favorite with a lot of fans. Then, when Evans made his declaration about Brees, the sparks really flew. That’s largely because Brees is one of the more beloved players in the league and generally viewed as a tough guy.

In no way do I want to diminish Brees’ reputation and that’s mainly because I think it’s well-deserved. But I think those who are comparing his injury to Cutler’s aren’t really being fair.

No offense to Evans, but he’s not a doctor and all indications are his use of the word “torn’’ was not accurate. Coach Sean Payton had more direct knowledge of the Brees’ injury and he said Monday it was a mild knee sprain.

Brees was asked about his injury and he echoed what Payton said. Brees also said it’s unfair to compare his injury to Cutler’s without knowing the exact nature of the Chicago quarterback’s injury. The Bears have said Cutler’s injury was a Grade 2 MCL sprain, which generally keeps players out for several weeks.

Brees suffered his injury in a Week 3 game against Atlanta and wasn’t listed on the injury report for the first week after the game. He wore a brace and later was on the injury report for three weeks, but never missed any playing time.

It may be admirable that Brees played through some issues. But to say he was dealing with the exact same issue that Cutler was on Sunday isn’t fair. That’s because there has been nothing to suggest the two injuries were of the exact same severity.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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