Brandon Marshall refuses to root for the Packers
By ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org December 27, 2012 9:04PM
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Updated: January 29, 2013 6:37AM
Brandon Marshall is grateful for the free trip to Hawaii, but he hopes he can’t go. He wants to still be playing for the Bears when it comes around.
“Fortunately, it’s my fourth time,” the receiver said Thursday of being named to the Pro Bowl. “But unfortunately, it’s been my playoffs. . . . It’s a ball. You have a blast out there, but I’m ready to get to the playoffs and that’s more important. Hopefully, those tickets go unused.”
The Pro Bowl, of course, is the week before the Super Bowl. But the Bears have to make the playoffs first, which starts with a win against the Detroit Lions and rooting for the Green Bay Packers to defeat the Minnesota Vikings.
Plenty of Bears have voiced their support for the Packers — for at least one game — but Marshall won’t.
“I’m not cheering for anybody but the Bears,” Marshall said. “That’s how it is. We put ourselves in this position, and right now, it could be a good position. You never know how things will work out. All we can do is beat Detroit and sit back and have a cup of coffee and see what happens [in the Packers] game.”
The war of words continued between the Bears and Lions. On Thursday, Detroit center Dominic Raiola ripped defensive tackle Henry Melton after his comments about him and the Lions. Melton called the Lions dirty and singled out Raiola as an “old” trash-talker who takes cheap shots.
Melton has missed the last two games with a collarbone injury, but was named to his first Pro Bowl, which Raiola didn’t agree with.
“He made the Pro Bowl? Come on,” Raiola said. “It’s tiresome, especially from a guy like this — a guy that didn’t even play the past two weeks. . . . He’s a clown.”
Asked about Raiola’s comments later Thursday, Melton took the high road.
“Well, I do have a lot to say about him, but I’ll be the bigger man and let my play do the talking,” Melton said.
For now, linebacker Lance Briggs’ streak of Pro Bowl selections has ended at seven. But since players always opt out of the game, there’s a chance it will continue.
Either way, he’s not too bothered by the snub. Briggs leads the Bears with 118 tackles and has two interception returns for touchdowns in his 10th season.
“It’s one of those things,’’ he said. “There weren’t any traditional outside linebackers in the Pro Bowl. That’s just the way it goes. It’s a vote.’’
Running back Matt Forte (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis after being held out a day earlier.
“[He’s] making a lot of progress,” coach Lovie Smith said. “[He] was able to get some reps in today. He looked pretty good. We’re hopeful for him, which we thought all along. I know he’s been pretty optimistic about the plan.”
† Cornerback Charles Tillman (ribs/elbow) and Melton (collarbone) practiced on a limited basis.
“If a guy practices on a limited basis, that’s a good thing,” Smith said.
† Linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring), safety Chris Conte (hamstring), running back Armando Allen (knee) and special-teams standout Blake Constanzo (calf) were held out of practice again.
† Right tackle Jonathan Scott (hamstring) was a full participant in practice.
He was inactive against the Arizona Cardinals.