Jennings: Bears far from thugs

Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings didn't agree with the assertion -- purportedly made in jest -- that his team is a "bunch of thugs."

Speaking at a charity dinner on Tuesday honoring Detroit receiver Nate Burleson, Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. referred to the Bears as "thugs." A team spokesman later informed the media that Ford was joking in his remarks.

"I heard," Jennings said when asked about Ford's comments. "What was he watching? I don't know. Calling us bullies? I don't think anyone in this world would probably agree with that. We're far from it. I wish we were."

Ford made his remarks about the Bears when describing the atmosphere during Sunday's game at Ford Field, where the Lions prevailed 40-32 after taking a 30-13 halftime lead.

"It was really alive, and it was alive when we played those same bunch of thugs on Monday night, you know, last year," Ford said, actually referring to his team's matchup with the Bears in 2011 on "Monday Night Football." "When this place gets going, it's electric. We do have wonderful fans; our fans are amazing."

Jennings said the rivalry "is intense" for Ford to call the Bears thugs. But instead of expressing anger about the situation, Jennings preferred to wear the moniker with pride.

"I guess we could take it as a good thing," Jennings said. "Now we finally ... we're tougher than we thought we were. People are realizing that.

"So he wants to call us thugs. We can take that as a compliment, I guess. We like to think we're playing nasty. But we play within the rules, you know? I don't know whether he's just meaning we're dirty or we're just a nasty defense. We weren't too nasty when we played them. So I don't know what he's trying to get out of it."

The Bears and Lions meet again Nov. 10 at Soldier Field.

ESPN.com's Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.