Forget Bears-Packers as far as a blood feud. Rivalry, yes. True feud? Thats Bears-Detroit Lions.
Affable defensive tackle Henry Melton, for instance, really didnt want to talk on Wednesday about the hard feelings that flow between Detroit and Chicago.
I dont want to say anything, Melton said, because I dont like Detroit.
But he really couldnt help himself. Reminded that Bears dont truly like Packers a rule, Melton conceded that at least with the Packers in position to help the Bears into the playoffs with a win over the Minnesota Vikings, I like Green Bay this week, he said with a laugh. But I really dont like Detroit.
The reason is simple, right there in the kind of game the Bears expect from the Lions:
Dirty, Melton said, bluntly. Theyre dirty. Theyve always been a dirty team since Ive been here. I dont like them.
The flags, fines and tempers have been flying more since Jim Schwartz came in as head coach in 2009. He has heard the accusations, seen the penalties against players on both sides of the football in Bears-Lions games, but he has always defended some say enabled his team.
I dont know about the dirty charges, Schwartz said on Wednesday. The focus is on the game on Sunday, and I think that when youre in the division, teams know each other very well. They play against each other a lot.
The one thing thats going to matter when we get to Sunday is the guys that are on the field and playing, and I think well just leave it there.
Coach Lovie Smith may use antagonisms for motivation of his team but its typically in private. He downplays dirty in public.
Its like that all weeks, Smith said. Every week is like that for us. Were not normally a team that gets into that type
I dont know why there would be any more. Again, we know each other. Its normally a hard-fought game and thats all were expecting from them.
One perspective would be that the Lions in fact already have accomplished something the Bears are worried about what the Lions do outside the rules instead of what they do inside the confines of plays.
Theyre going to be looking for cheap shots and all that mess, Melton said. Weve just got to hold our composure and play the game we know
They just try and do all this extra stuff talking, little cheap shots. If you look at the tape, theyve always thrown cheap shots. We had a brawl I think last year. So, it is what it is. Im ready.