Pack OL calls Lions a dirty team

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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Don't expect any Thanksgiving pleasantries between Green Bay Packers guard Josh Sitton and the Detroit Lions when the teams meet Thursday at Ford Field in Detroit.

Not after Sitton ripped the Lions' defensive line, coach Jim Schwartz and members of Detroit's defensive coaching staff.

Two days before the Thanksgiving game, Sitton did not hold back his criticism of Green Bay's NFC North rivals. During his regular radio appearance on WSSP 1250 AM in Milwaukee, Sitton was asked whether the Lions would try to knock out Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers if he were to return Thursday from the broken collarbone that has kept him out since Nov. 4.

"Absolutely; I don't think there's any question about that," Sitton said Tuesday. "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.

"It starts with their frickin' coach. It starts with the head coach, Schwartz. He's a d---, too. 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."

Not surprisingly, Packers coach Mike McCarthy was unhappy with Sitton's talk about the Lions.

"Well, I'll say this about Josh Sitton's comments: They definitely don't reflect how we go about our business here. It was discussed with the football team," McCarthy said.

Schwartz also offered a response to Sitton's comments on Wednesday.

"I've been around too long to take that bait," Schwartz said on 97.1 The Ticket and CBS Radio. "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."

Schwartz also said Sitton's comments seem to be the norm when it comes to off-the-field talk.

"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."

Rodgers has been ruled out against the Lions even though he returned to practice Tuesday.

Bad blood has existed recently between the teams. Two years ago on Thanksgiving, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was ejected after stomping on the arm of Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.

When asked how the Packers can keep the Lions from playing dirty, Sitton said, "It's all about attitude, man. You take it to them before they can take it to you. We have to set the tone of the game as the offensive line. We've got to establish the line of scrimmage and establish that tempo and the attitude early in the game. We have to be the ones that are in charge and not let them take charge."

Information from Lions reporter Michael Rothstein was used in this report.