Jay Cutler took the stairs to dinner after NFC championship game

This breaking news courtesy the Chicago Tribune:

Jay Cutler(notes) and girlfriend Kristin Cavallari dined at Mastro's Steakhouse on Sunday after the Bears' 21-14 loss to the Packers in the NFC championship game.

Cutler, who left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, was not on crutches but "he limped a tiny bit," according to a source. The couple was joined by 11 other people in Mastro's private upstairs dining room, and our spies tell us that he took the stairs rather than the elevator.

That's some hard-hitting investigative reporting. Now I know what it was like to live through Watergate. (Actually, what's most surprising about that story is that Cutler has 11 friends. Judging by all the scorn thrown his way by his NFL peers, you'd have figured the guy was a social leper.)

The Cutler story isn't even 48 hours old and everyone already seems to be firmly on one side or the other. I doubt the stairs story is going to change anyone's mind, and in fact it has already sparked a Twitter frenzy of backlash. Either you think Cutler was seriously hurt, couldn't have come back in the game and is getting a bad rap or you think he's a wimp who didn't man up. I lean toward the former but don't rule out the latter. (The "we don't know" tack works both ways. Riding a bike and climbing stairs are things I try to avoid when my knee is healthy.)

Whether Cutler took the stairs or not could be explained in many ways. Maybe he's claustrophobic. Maybe the elevator was out for maintenance. Maybe it was one of the really slow elevators that restaurants always seem to have and he didn't want to wait. Or maybe the whole MCL tear story is an elaborate ruse to divert attention from the fact that Jay Cutler started the O'Leary fire, helped throw the 1919 World Series and actually is Steve Bartman.

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