The Detroit Lions will be short-handed when they face Green Bay for the NFC North title.
Lions center Dominic Raiola has been suspended for one game after he stepped on Chicago Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson on Sunday. The punishment was handed down by Merton Hanks, the NFL’s Vice President of Football Operations. The league said this was Raiola’s sixth rules violation related to player safety since 2010.
Raiola stepped on Ferguson’s right ankle while the Chicago lineman was on the ground early in the third quarter. Raiola said after the game it was not intentional, and that he talked to Ferguson and apologized.
“It was totally unintentional,” Raiola said. “I remember I was stumbling out. I didn’t see the end of it. I apologized at the end of the game, told him it was unintentional and we shook hands and that was it.”
After Sunday’s loss, Ferguson did not want to get into what Raiola said to him after the game.
“None of that matters,” Ferguson said. “We all saw the play. You can’t take back what happened with that play. That’s the end of that.”
Head coach Jim Caldwell said he spoke with Raiola on Monday morning but didn’t want to get into details of the conversation between the two. But he did hint at the possibility of Raiola getting suspended.
“I believe what Dom told me, that it was inadvertent, but I could also see why it’s obviously being reviewed by the league and everybody is taking a real good look at it,” Caldwell said. “You can also see the other side of that as well. There’s a league protocol to it, it’ll be reviewed and taken a look at. We’ll deal with the issues after there’s been some determination here.”
Raiola has been with the Lions for his entire 14-year career, playing every game of every season except 2008.
Detroit used its third-round draft pick this year on center Travis Swanson.
“We have options, obviously he’s one of those options,” Caldwell said. “He’s the guy that’s played, understands it and has some snaps under his belt.”