A day after their sideline argument was broadcast to a national television offense, the Green Bay Packers weren’t backing down Monday.
No, the Packers embraced the “passion” captured when safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, outside linebacker Julius Peppers and defensive tackle B.J. Raji exchanged heated words on the visitor’s sideline at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The dust-up sparked after the Carolina Panthers took a 37-14 lead with 9:22 left. The Packers almost completed a miraculous comeback, scoring two quick touchdowns with two three-and-outs before coming 4 yards short of having a chance to tie the game.
“Frankly, we actually played better after it,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We should probably do that in pregame next time.”
McCarthy said he had “zero concerns” of the argument having a lingering affect inside the Packers’ locker room. He didn’t even address it with the team Monday, he said.
“We had enough to talk about as a team from a pure football standpoint,” McCarthy said. “Frankly, just as I stated (Sunday) after the game, I have zero concerns about it. Frankly, a part of me likes it. I think it just shows that they’re passionate, and they care.
“There’s really nothing to get bent out of shape about. I know what they showed on TV, but I’m also well aware of all that went on after that, too, as far as the conversations and what came of it.”
McCarthy also said it would be “looking into that a little bit too much” to take issue with Clinton-Dix, a second-year player, stirring things up with a longtime veteran like Peppers. Clinton-Dix apologized over Twitter on Sunday night, saying he would “never disrespect a HOF player” he watched as a child.
Peppers said there “wasn’t even an issue” following the exchange, and McCarthy had no need to address it. He appreciated what the moment represented.
“I think it showed passion for the game,” Peppers said, “not necessarily frustration. Everybody wants to win. Sometimes you do get frustrated during the course of a game. Things happen. I actually like it. It’s passion, it’s emotion. It’s guys wanting to play better and win games.”
Then, to clarify, Peppers continued.
“Let me be clear: When I said I liked it,” Peppers said, “I’m not necessarily talking about guys losing their cool on the sideline, jawing at each other, shoving each other. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about guys showing passion, showing energy, wanting to win, putting an emphasis on winning football, and I think that can be achieved.”
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