Mike McCarthy chose his words carefully, but it was easy to see the Green Bay Packers coach wasn’t happy with left guard Josh Sitton’s comments about Detroit coach Jim Schwartz and the Lions' players.
During an interview with 1250 WSSP in Milwaukee on Tuesday, Sitton was asked if the Lions would try to take out Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers if he were to play on Thanksgiving.
Sitton said he “absolutely” believes they would, adding that Schwartz, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and the entire Lions’ defensive line are “scumbags” and he wouldn’t want to play there.
After practice concluded on Wednesday, McCarthy said the team has addressed Sitton's comments.
"I’ll say this about Josh Sitton’s comments: They definitely don’t reflect how we go about our business here,” McCarthy said. “It was discussed with the football team.”
There’s plenty of bad blood between the two teams, beginning with defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh stomping Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith in the Thanksgiving game two years ago.
When given the chance on Wednesday, Schwartz didn't bite back during an interview on 97.1 The Ticket and CBS Radio.
"I've been around too long to take that bait," Schwartz said. "The game's going to be played by players on the field, and it's going to be played with actions, not with words. I think we just, those comments just stand on their own. We just let them be, and we're not going to take the bait on stuff like that."
Last year, McCarthy and Schwartz became embattled in a small war of words regarding the Packers' decision to cancel one of their mandatory mini-camp days to go clay pigeon shooting.
Being the 21st time between the two franchises on Thanksgiving, Schwartz would only say he believes Sitton's words take away from the battle between the 6-5 Lions and 5-5-1 Packers for top of the NFC North.
"I think it's unfortunate for our game," Schwartz said. "I think there's less emphasis on the game that's on the field, and things like this get more attention. I don't think that's necessarily good for our game.
"I think that it's the play on the field that's going to determine who wins and loses, not what's said in the run-up before the game. But that gets a lot of interest now. I think we just need to stay focused on our jobs."