Former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Matt Brock set off a firestorm with a hypothesis on why Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh lost his cool and stomped on Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith’s arm on Thanksgiving.
On Portland radio station KXTG 750-AM, Brock said he talked to Packers offensive line coach James Campen recently about the incident. According to Brock, Campen – thinking Dietrich-Smith was going to get “killed” by Suh -- told Dietrich-Smith to untie Suh’s shoes “every time you’re in a pile.”
According to Brock’s version of the story, the ploy was meant to irritate Suh. The rest, of course, is history, with Suh returning this week following a two-game suspension.
Asked about the story on Green Bay radio station WNFL 1440-AM, Brock called himself guilty of “embellishing.”
“How this all started, out here in Portland, Oregon, where Suh played in high school, my high school team was playing his high school team, and my guys were scared,” Brock said. “They said, ‘What are we going to do?’ I said, ‘Well, he’s going to kill you, No. 1, but No. 2, what you’ve got to do is … untie his shoelaces, whatever. He’ll get frustrated and get a penalty.’ Well, it so happens that he got frustrated, took a swing at one of our players and he got kicked out of the game.
“So, I told James, ‘This is what you should do,’ and of course I came out to Green Bay (to serve as an alumni captain last week against Oakland) and I told a nice little story on the radio and it just went viral.”
Campen, who is the godfather of one of Brock’s children, said he and Brock are “good friends.” Campen adamantly denied instructing Dietrich-Smith to untie Suh’s shoes.
“No. Absolutely not,” Campen said. “We have more important things to worry about that tying up someone’s shoes during a game. Absolutely ridiculous.”
Dietrich-Smith and fellow guard T.J. Lang when told the story.
“That sounds more like a joke to me,” Lang said.
“I don’t know about that one,” Dietrich-Smith added.
Brandon Saine hasn’t been cleared from his concussion and James Starks, while improving, sat out practice again. While coach Mike McCarthy was optimistic about Saine progressing through the league-mandated concussion protocol in time for Sunday, there’s a chance the Packers will have only Ryan Grant and John Kuhn in the backfield for the game at Kansas City.
“The availability of the player sometimes dictates exactly what you’re doing and how you’re calling the plays. We’ll have to see how it shakes itself out,” offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said.
Packers injury report
Out: T Chad Clifton (hamstring/back); WR Greg Jennings (knee). Did not participate: LB Desmond Bishop (calf); DE Ryan Pickett (concussion); RB Brandon Saine (concussion); RB James Starks (knee/ankle). Limited: G Josh Sitton (knee). Full: LB A.J. Hawk (calf); LB Vic So’oto (back).
The Packers’ injury report was unchanged from Wednesday. Sitton took part in some 11-on-11 drills, as opposed to Wednesday, when he was limited to individual drills. That bodes well to his regaining his starting position on Sunday after missing the last two-and-a-half games.
McCarthy was optimistic about Pickett being cleared to practice Friday and play on Sunday. Bishop almost certainly won’t play this week, barring a hasty last-minute recovery.
If Saine and Starks are out, the Packers would be left with only Ryan Grant and John Kuhn in the backfield.
Chiefs injury report
Did not participate: CB Javier Arenas (illness); WR Jon Baldwin (illness); S Jon McGraw (ankle). Limited: QB Kyle Orton (right index finger).
-- Receiver Tori Gurley passed up an opportunity to be added to Minnesota’s 53-man roster and will stick with his job on the Packers’ practice squad. Gurley told the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Rob Demovsky that he’s “learning from some of the best receivers in the game.” By staying in Green Bay, he could be practicing and improving through the Super Bowl on Feb. 5. Had he signed with Minnesota, his season would be over on Jan. 1.
-- The Packers tinkered with their practice squad, bringing back fullback John Hoese and releasing guard Jake Vermiglio. Hoese (6-foot-2, 238 pounds) signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent and played in all four preseason games before being released among the team’s final cuts. He’ll wear Korey Hall’s old number, 35.
-- Under the new CBA, teams are permitted three padded practices over the final five weeks of the regular season. The Packers usually go pads on Thursday but McCarthy did not this time. He’s got one padded practice remaining. “I don’t think there’s a coach in the world that would be OK with someone telling them how many times they can put pads on their football team. But that’s the rules,” McCarthy said. “I’m sure there’s rules in every line of business that you probably don’t agree with. I don’t think it helps you. It doesn’t help not being able to put your team in pads when you feel they need to be in pads. But that’s the rules.”
-- The Packers are a 3/2 favorite to win the Super Bowl, according to gaming site Bovada.lv – formerly Bodog.com. They safe money is on the Packers finishing 16-0. They’re 5/9 to go undefeated, 3/2 to go 15-1, 22/1 to go 14-2 and 150/1 to lose the rest of their games and finish 13-3.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.