CutlerWatch: Closer to clearance

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said he feels "as normal as can be" Tuesday in his first comments since suffering a concussion Nov. 11. No final decisions have been made, but based on his tone during his ESPN 1000 radio show -- and some upbeat comments from coach Lovie Smith late Monday night -- Cutler appears to have a chance to start Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Cutler did not play in Monday night's 32-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, after which Smith said "it's looking good" for Cutler's imminent return. Cutler said "I can't say that for sure" because he has "a few more hoops to jump through" before officially being cleared for contact. But he also implied the Bears decided to hold him out of the 49ers game independent of his post-concussion test results.

"Before I even took the test, I met with Lovie and our trainers and stuff," Cutler said, "and me and [defensive end Shea McClellin] both, pass or not pass the test, everyone was leaning toward us not playing."

If he is concerned about long-term affects of a career that has now included three concussions in the NFL, along with a reported three concussions in college, Cutler didn't let on. He indicated that his symptoms dissipated within a few days of the injury.

"I asked doctors these questions," Cutler said, "and their explanation to me is they get concerned when you don't return back to normal. When you stay in that fog, when you stay dizzy for weeks on end, that's where there's a level of concern. Whenever you're returning back to normal a couple days after the concussion, and everything's coming back, you can return back to work and hopefully be fine.

"Going forward, I'm not going to change anything about the way I play. I'm going to enjoy football and hopefully I don't get another concussion."

Bears players are off Tuesday and Cutler has doctor visits scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. But he said his goal is to resume practicing this week, in which case it would seem likely he will play against the Vikings. We'll continue our daily updates until we know that's the case for sure.