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Jay Cutler can feel pain of verbal hits, too

“It does get old it hurts sometimes” Jay Cutler said medicriticism. | Phelan M. Ebenhack~AP

“It does get old, and it hurts sometimes,” Jay Cutler said of media criticism. | Phelan M. Ebenhack~AP

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Updated: November 16, 2012 6:19AM

The transformation started the morning of Aug. 8, when Jay Cutler cradled his 7-pound, 9-ounce bundle of joy.

Camden Jack easily trumped a one-pound football as the most precious thing Cutler tucked in the crook of his arm.

“On one hand, it puts a lot of things in perspective about what’s important and what’s not important,” Cutler told the Sun-Times. “On the other hand, it makes you value the position you’re in a little more.

“I enjoy going to work. It’s fun to be in a position to be the quarterback for the Chicago Bears.”

No book, conversation or video can prepare a man for the feeling he gets when he becomes a father. Untapped emotions and instincts are triggered within, along with the anxious question: Am I ready?

That question often fuels a man to put his boyish tendencies and hobbies aside and provides some clarity on his priorities.

Despite some slights coming out of high school, Jay Cutler earned a scholarship to one of the nation’s top private schools, Vanderbilt, and he has established himself as one of the NFL’s better starting quarterbacks.

Of course he’s looking to elevate his standing, but he’s also realizing how fortunate he is.

“Not a ton of people get to do this,” he said. “It’s something I enjoy, and it’s something I hope I’m still doing whenever Camden is a little older and he can watch and he can enjoy it.”

But Cutler, 29, is only under contract through 2013, and his performance this season will affect his next deal immensely, whether it’s with the Bears or another team. Although there have been a couple of shaky starts, Cutler largely has continued what he did last season before he broke a finger. He was 7-3 then, and he’s 4-1 now.

However, Cutler remains a lightning-rod figure in the NFL. He can be as easy a target for pass rushers as NFL analysts.

The latter unloaded on him after he bumped offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb in Green Bay and walked away from offensive coordinator Mike Tice in Dallas.

“I know I would never act like that,” Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw said on Fox. “I would show respect to the head coach and offensive coordinator. I would never do, Jay, what you did to Mike Tice, no matter if he was in your ear the whole time screaming and hollering.

“You know you’ve got millions of people watching. If I were you, I would learn how to be a little bit nicer. I know you don’t care, and nor do I care if I ever sit down and do an interview with you — which I have yet to do. Maybe there’s a reason for that. I like everybody. I’d like to like you, but right now I don’t like you. Grow up, young man.”

Those words stung.

“There’s a certain point where it bothers you. It bothers me,” Cutler said. “A lot of these people don’t know me, and they don’t know what happens behind the scenes at our place.

“I’ve never had a teammate come out and say, ‘He’s a bad guy. I don’t like playing with him.’ I’ve had teammates who have been supportive of me, and that’s the most important part to me.”

Cutler wishes the cameras wouldn’t just show the negative incidents. For instance, moments later, Tice and Cutler had a productive chat, the quarterback said.

“He came over, and I was like, ‘We got to make that. We got some more stuff we can call.’ And he said, ‘I totally agree. Let’s go,’ ” Cutler said. “And we moved on.”

Cutler knows that’s the nature of the business, and he gets what he has to do.

“I understand a lot of these guys have a job to do and these networks have a job to do and they’ve got to make TV happen,” he said. “But it does get old, and it hurts sometimes. But I have to keep playing football, and I got to keep winning games.”

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