Detroit center Dominic Raiola responded Thursday to assertions made by the Chicago Bears' Henry Melton that the Lions are a dirty team, calling the defensive tackle "a clown" and questioning how he could have been selected to the Pro Bowl.
"I mean, this guy, he made it to the Pro Bowl?" Raiola said, according to the Detroit Free Press. "This guy made the Pro Bowl? (Over the Vikings') Kevin Williams, who worked through injuries all year? (Over Ndamokung) Suh, who's a better player than this guy? Come on.
"It's tiresome, especially from a guy like this, a guy that didn't even play the past two weeks. ... I don't know what to say anymore. In my book, he's a clown."
On Wednesday, Melton, selected to his first Pro Bowl, said he expected a dirty game Sunday against the Lions, who at 4-11 have nothing to play for other than to play spoiler to a division rival. The Bears need a victory and a Vikings' loss to the Green Bay Packers to make the playoffs.
"They're dirty," Melton said Wednesday. "They've always been a dirty team since I've been here. I don't like them. We've just got to hold our composure and play the game we know."
Melton also singled out Raiola as the Lions' biggest trash talker: "He's old, and he just talks."
Asked whether Raiola got personal during his trash talking, Melton said, "No, he's more just cuss words. Bad language. Then he'll throw some cheap shots in there, and then he'll say some bad words."
"You got a defense full of superstars, and you don't hear from the guys that carry weight in my book," Raiola said, according to the Free Press. "(Brian) Urlacher, (Lance) Briggs, (Charles) Tillman, (Israel) Idonije, older guys. (Julius) Peppers. The guys that have been there. We're talking about guys who carry weight. This guy? Not in my book."
Melton missed the Bears' 28-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals because of a clavicle injury, but he hopes to play Sunday.
When the Bears and Lions played on Oct. 22, Suh had a vicious sack of Jay Cutler during Chicago's 13-7 victory at Soldier Field. Cutler said he didn't have a problem with the hit deemed legal. But receiver Brandon Marshall defended his quarterback, tweeting: "What u did to Jay wasn't cool. Great players don't have to do that."
Last November, Suh yanked off Cutler's helmet during a 37-13 win at Soldier Field. In that game, six players received fines totaling $62,500, including Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford ($7,500) and Chicago cornerback D.J. Moore ($15,000), who were involved in an incident that led to an on-field brawl between the teams.
ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright contributed to this report.