CHICAGO — The disastrous Bears season was hard on quarterback Jay Cutler, who was benched and faced a ton of criticism from fans, but it was also at times difficult for another celebrity in a city thousands of miles away: Jay Cutler, world champion bodybuilder.
The highest-paid Bears player doesn’t have a big social media presence, but the weightlifter with the same name — who has millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers — at times this season got the brunt of the criticism from frustrated fans.
"It's been a little tough for me sometimes on Twitter, especially on Mondays,” said Cutler, who lives in Las Vegas. “There’s … animosity.”
Justin Breen says Cutler sometimes causes confusion at autograph signings:
Nevertheless, Cutler remains a huge backer of the Bears' quarterback, despite this season in which he had an NFL-high 24 turnovers and was benched for Jimmy Clausen as the Bears finished a disappointing 5-11.
"I think Cutler's a great quarterback; he just didn't have the best year over there," said Cutler, a four-time Mr. Olympia.
"I'm still a fan," he said.
"This guy has a great contract, and he's still there. He was still trying to carry that team, and I have to respect that. I've won and lost, and it's easy for people to say he's finished, and then you perform again, and they're back on the bandwagon. I respect the guy."
The bodybuilder, 41, was born Jason Isaac Cutler, but he changed his name to Jay shortly after high school because he thought Jason sounded "awkward" for a bodybuilder. He won Mr. Olympia titles — the Super Bowl of bodybuilding — in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. And Cutler created Jaycutler.com in 2000, before the QB Cutler — whose middle name is Christopher — began his career at Vanderbilt in 2002.
"I'm the original Jay Cutler," the bodybuilder said. "When Cutler came along, I was already well into my career."
There might not be a more popular bodybuilder than Cutler, who has nearly 5½ million Facebook fans and almost 260,000 Twitter followers. Unlike several other Bears players, the Chicago Cutler doesn't appear to have public Twitter or Facebook accounts.
Despite the angry tweets, Cutler said having the same name has mostly been a blessing.
"It's helped me get a lot of great exposure,” said Cutler, who said he's never met the quarterback.
A friend gave Cutler an autographed Cutler football uniform several years ago. Occasionally when he makes appearances across the country, Cutler said he'll see fans holding footballs and jerseys for the other Cutler to autograph.
"They turn around and say s---, 'It's the wrong one,'" Cutler said.
Cutler still enters bodybuilding competitions, but most of his time is spent traveling the world. He's been to Denmark, Germany, Austria, Brazil and Australia in the last year alone marketing his nutritional supplement line.
For Bears fans pleading for Chicago's QB and the Bears to rebound in 2015, Cutler said, "Hopefully, you have a better season next year."
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