As best as he could Monday, Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz tried to move past the national headlines he earned for his role in Sunday's postgame fracas. Schwartz said he spoke with NFL officials Monday morning, acknowledged the episode was "regrettable" and said there will be "nothing" between him and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh moving forward.
"It's unfortunate," Schwartz told reporters. "The game is played by the players on the field. We certainly don’t want things like that to occur. There are competitive people in the league, and I think we need to do a better job of just leaving it to the players on the field."
Asked if he was planning to apologize outright, Schwartz said: "It was a regrettable situation. Particularly that it detracted from what happened in the game. I think I'll just leave it right there."
Schwartz implied Sunday that Harbaugh provoked him with a shove and an obscenity during their postgame handshake. What Schwartz said Monday, then, was the closest he was going to get to an apology. "Regrettable" means he wishes it didn't happen. It isn't quite "I'm sorry I did it."
After the handshake, Schwartz bumped Harbaugh from behind and chased him some 40 yards down the field before security officials restrained him from getting any closer. The physical contact and the subsequent scene could draw NFL discipline, but none had been announced as of early Monday afternoon.
Schwartz said he spoke briefly with Harbaugh after the game and likely will again, adding: "It is what it is. It happened. It was very regrettable. It's something where there is nothing going forward between us personally or the two teams."
Hopefully it is. What Harbaugh did or didn't do is irrelevant as it relates to the Lions. Moving forward, you can only hope Schwartz knows that the captain can't be the craziest passenger on the ship.
Many of us have enjoyed his fist-pumps and his sideline taunts, most recently when he implored Harbaugh to "know the rules" during the first quarter Sunday. (Schwartz didn't deny saying that when asked Monday, but suggested Harbaugh couldn't hear him from across the field.)
But as much fun as it has been to watch Schwartz's passion rise to the surface, he crossed the line Sunday. He can't possibly expect his players to maintain their composure in emotional times if he can't.
Onward and upward