Kurt Warner advises caution

Updated: November 13, 2012, 1:38 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner said Tuesday he would advise Jay Cutler to "be cautious" and determine on his own whether he is "100 percent healthy" to play, even if he passes the battery of tests after suffering a concussion.

"I think it has to come down to the individual, and that's exactly what I would tell Jay, is: 'If you're feeling anything ... be cautious,' " Warner said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "It's not worth it long-term, and especially Jay right now. (The 7-2 Bears) are in a great situation as a team that they need him healthy. The big deal is for him to be able to play down the stretch and not have any concerns about his head or any issues that are prolonged."

Cutler suffered a concussion late in the second quarter of the Chicago Bears' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday night and did not play in the second half. He will be evaluated this week with a brain function test called ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) before it will be determined whether he can play against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. The league has required players to establish baseline tests of brain function since 2007.

Cutler has not talked to the media since suffering the concussion. NFL rules prohibit concussed players from speaking with the media until they are medically cleared to play.

Warner, now an analyst for NFL Network, suffered several concussions during his 12-year career, including one during his final season in 2009 with the Arizona Cardinals. Warner said he passed the tests during the week and even practiced but decided he just didn't feel right.

"My last year I had suffered a concussion, and I passed the baseline test with better scores than I had when I originally took it," Warner said. "I could go out and practice and do everything I needed to do physically and mentally. Yet personally I knew I wasn't right. I knew that there was just something that was a little bit off, it was a little bit unclear. Ultimately it came down to me going: 'You know what, guys? I just don't feel right. I'm not going to play.' And I sat out a game even though everybody had cleared me and everybody had basically said I was OK to play. I knew I wasn't.

"A lot of times it comes down to that. It comes down to the individual being honest and saying: 'Am I good enough to play or am I good to play? Am I 100 percent healthy?' And I really think that's the key for any quarterback or any player in this game in how we prevent those things from becoming worse down the road."

Bears coach Lovie Smith said Monday that Cutler is "getting better," and added he "was feeling better at the end of the game (on Sunday)."

"We'll go through the protocol, and once they've been cleared to come back for practice and play, that's when he'll play. It's really as simple as that. We've already started the process with that," Smith said.