As you probably know by now, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is out of Sunday night's game against the Houston Texans because of a concussion. There are short- and long-term consequences of that development, and let's quickly run through them.
In the short term, obviously, the Bears are without their starting quarterback. They paid a premium to sign backup Jason Campbell this offseason, but Cutler has won 12 of his last 13 starts and is best equipped to lead the Bears to a comeback victory. Midway through the third quarter, they trail the Texans 10-6. Cutler's availability for next Monday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers is at least in question.
The Bears will face heavy scrutiny for the timing of Cutler's departure. We don't know for sure yet, but the play he presumably suffered the concussion on came with two minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter on a helmet-to-helmet hit by the Texans' Tim Dobbins. Cutler had extra time to collect himself while officials reviewed the play, but he remained in the game for seven more plays over two possessions before halftime. NFL rules require any player identified with concussion symptoms to be examined and removed from the sideline while being evaluated. We'll withhold judgment until we know for sure when Cutler suffered the injury.
By my count, Cutler has now endured three concussions in his NFL career and six in his football career. Those figures come from a Chicago Tribune story after his most recent concussion in October 2010, and they're significant in this era of heightened concussion awareness.
More on this story as it develops.