Earlier today during a press conference, San Francisco 49ers‘ head coach Jim Harbaugh took more than his fair share of verbal jabs at Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews.
Harbaugh was talking about a scrum that broke out between the 49ers and the Packers after a clear late hit and possible target of the head by Matthews on quarterback Colin Kaepernick who had run out of bounds after a scramble from the pocket.
Harbaugh said Joe Staley did exactly what he was taught, and that was to try to lock up the other guy’s arms to prevent any punches being thrown. Well, Matthews got a few in on Staley anyway. Both Staley and Matthews were flagged on the play for unsportsmanlike penalties, however the NFL came out today saying there should not have been any flag on Staley.
Today Harbaugh had a few choice words for Matthews. “I think that young man works very hard on being a tough guy,” Harbaugh said. He then went on to say that “[Matthews] will have some repairing to do to his image after that slap.” Harbaugh was referring to one of the two punches, or as he called one punch and one slap, that Matthews threw Staley’s way.
Harbaugh then went on to say that “If you’re going to go to the face, come with some knuckles, not an open slap.”
But, probably the best quote comes from Kaepernick who said after the game that “If intimidation is your game plan, I hope you have a better one.” It seems the young quarterback has quite the level head and has poise beyond his years.
Later on Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy defended Matthews by saying that “Clay Matthews is not a dirty player, by no means.” Even Matthews himself admitted the hit “wasn’t very smart” and that he “had already committed to hitting the quarterback.”
You have to love Harbaugh sticking up for his guys, but at some point it is going to get him into trouble. In just a few short years and San Francisco’s head coach he has been in his fair share of controversies and verbal sparring matches including ‘Handshake-Gate’ as well as calling out Pete Carrol, the Seahawks’ head coach for multiple PED suspensions.