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Did Todd Collins Lie About Being Injured In NFC Championship Game?

While everyone's paying attention to Jay Cutler and his injury -- which, now that we know more about it, does seem to have been serious enough to keep him out of the game -- there's another injury that is attracting some interest today. Albert Breer of NFL.com quoted a "source" as saying that Todd Collins was injured on the last snap he took on Sunday afternoon:
Collins is scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury, and there's a chance he'll need surgery. That could mean the end of Collins' 16-year career, which started with the Buffalo Bills and also took him to the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins.
Not so fast, says Neil Hayes of the Sun-Times:
... when I asked Collins point-blank after the game whether he had left because of an injury, the veteran denied it.

"They just made a switch," Collins told me. "It was a coach's decision."

The decision to put third-stringer Caleb Hanie in the game with 57 seconds left in the third quarter was strange because it meant that neither starter Jay Cutler nor Collins could re-enter the game. That means that if Hanie had been hurt, Earl Bennett or Matt Forte would've likely been pressed into duty as an emergency quarterback.

It was that decision that made me ask Collins whether he was injured, since logic suggests it would be wiser to run a running play with Collins, let the third-quarter expire and then insert Hanie into the game, which would've allowed the Bears to go back to Collins in an emergency.

Anyway, either Collins looked me right in the eye and lied or the report is erroneous.

Perhaps that explains the curious Q&A coach Lovie Smith had with the Tribune's Brad Biggs:

Bears coach Lovie Smith got into a "who's on first?" routine Monday at his news conference when he was grilled over the ordering of the depth chart at quarterback.

"I like our evaluation of our quarterbacks," Smith said. "You have a No. 1. If he goes down, you have a No. 2. And if that doesn't work, you're able to go to your No. 3. We were able to do that and we ended up with our No. 3 and he was able to put us in position to possibly win that game. So I like our evaluation of our quarterbacks right now."

Should Hanie have been No. 2?

"No, I think you go to No. 2 next," Smith said. "If No. 2 can't do it, you go to No. 3, which we did. I like that sequence."

But because No. 2 struggled doesn't it mean No. 3 should have been No. 2?

"No, that says that No. 2 didn't do that job yesterday and we went to No. 3 and I liked what No. 3 was able to do," Smith said.

It's all very strange. All the play that Collins had this year was... well, it looked like the Bears had chosen a random fan from a scratch-off card giveaway and let him play quarterback. It's difficult to believe that they could see anything Collins did in practice and think he could actually win NFL games with that ability.

In any case, as Biggs reports:

Collins is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday and surgery could be required, meaning the Bears would be on the hook for rehabilitation for the 39-year-old veteran. It also could signal the end of Collins' career.

So there's that... IF the injury report is true. The Sun-Times says it's not. Will we ever learn the truth?