Updated: November 30, 2011 12:19AM
The conference call started so civilly.
In every NFL market, on Wednesdays during the season, local reporters speak to opposing teams’ head coach and a star player.
Wisconsin reporters opened the call with Jay Cutler with innocuous questions about facing the Packers and the club’s rivalry with his Bears.
“All my family’s from northern Indiana,” Cutler said in response to the latter question, “so I grew up a Bears fan, so this is nothing new to me.”
Cutler provided insight on his offensive line and even entertained a question on whether — if he had stayed healthy — he could have led the Bears to a victory over the Packers in the NFC title game.
“Um, you know there’s a lot of what-ifs out there,” Cutler said. “If we would’ve beat them in the last game last year, they wouldn’t have even been in the playoffs, so you can’t live in the past.
“We’ve just got to deal with what’s in front of us.”
But Cutler was curt when the line of questioning turned to the backlash from other players when he left the NFC title game early in the third quarter.
◆ On if he was offended by what people said: “No.”
◆ On if he was surprised by the backlash: “No. I was not.”
◆ On if he was more stung by criticism from players than reporters and fans: “No.”
End of conference call.