Stafford, Lions take issue with Harrison’s remarks

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr received a personal foul for hitting Matthew Stafford as the Lions’ quarterback ran out of bounds Sunday.

It was a fairly standard, however illegal, hit, but it’s made headlines because NBC “Sunday Night Football” analyst Rodney Harrison, a two-time All-Pro safety, said he didn’t think the Lions reacted the right way after the hit along the Lions’ sideline.

Stafford disagreed and shared his thoughts on his weekly radio interview with WJR-AM Monday evening.

“Watching the tape, I thought it was a great response,” Stafford said. “I don’t know what Rodney wants us to do. If he wants us to have an all-out brawl, we can have an all-out brawl, but then they just say it’s the same old Lions.

“I was proud of the guys’ response. We got the 15-yarder, we didn’t negate it by doing something stupid and at the same time, we kind of got to let Anthony know how we felt about it.”

Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who was inactive, shoved Barr immediately after the hit. After opening his eyes and seeing that he was under a bench, Stafford said, the quarterback ran to chirp at Barr, too, and he was surrounded by several Lions players, including linebacker DeAndre Levy, defensive end Jason Jones and linebacker Kyle Van Noy.

Rookie guard Laken Tomlinson appeared to run to Barr with the most urgency, but was restrained by tight ends coach Ron Prince.

“Nobody comes to his defense except a rookie lineman,” Harrison said during the pregame show Sunday night. “This is crazy. This just shows me how much respect this team has for Matthew Stafford — not a lot.”

Lions receiver Golden Tate said Monday he thought “110 percent” the Vikings took cheap shots Sunday, but coach Jim Caldwell didn’t think Minnesota crossed the line. Barr actually hit Stafford before he touched out of bounds.

However dirty the play was, Tate said Harrison’s point on TV was malarkey.

“Everyone in this building — hopefully everyone in this state — supports Stafford and this team,” he said. “I wouldn’t pay too much attention to that BS. That’s just someone trying to start something and give someone something to talk about.”