Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions will decide who will occupy the top spot in the NFC North standings, and tensions between the two teams are already on the rise. Packers offensive line Josh Sitton had some particularly harsh words for his team’s upcoming opponent.
During his weekly appearance on a WSSP 1250 AM radio show in Milwaukee, Sitton, who plays guard for the Packers, was asked if he believed that the Lions will attempt to re-injure quarterback Aaron Rodgers if he returns from his broken collarbone injury in time for Thanksgiving. The 27-year-old lineman had a strong response.
“Absolutely; I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Sitton said on Tuesday, via ESPN. "They go after quarterbacks. Their entire defense takes cheap shots all the time. That's what they do. That's who they are. They're a bunch of dirtbags or scumbags. That's how they play, and that's how they're coached.”
Sitton also shared his belief that Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is directly responsible for his team’s alleged dirty play. “It starts with their frickin' coach. It starts with the head coach, Schwartz. He's a d---, too,” Sitton said. “I wouldn't want to play for him. It starts with him, and their D-coordinator and their D-line coach. They're all just scumbags and so are the D-line."
The Packers may not have to worry about the Lions attempting to knock Rodgers out the game. The injured signal-caller returned to practice on Thursday, but is not expected to play against Detroit, ESPN reports. Instead, backup quarterback Matt Flynn will likely get the start after a strong performance last week in relief of Scott Tolzien.
The feud between the Packers and the Lions extends beyond a mere divisional rivalry. The teams have engaged in several scraps in the past, most notably on Thanksgiving two years ago. During that game, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was ejected after he stomped on Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Suh was later suspended for the incident.
Sitton isn’t the first person to comment on the Lions’ dirty play. In November, Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall referred to the Lions’ on-field demeanor as “kind of disgusting,” CBS Sports reports.