Former Detroit Lions offensive lineman Lomas Brown has apologized for recent comments he made about Scott Mitchell, claiming he regrets intentionally missing a block decades ago that resulted in the quarterback suffering an injury.
Brown, currently an NFL analyst for ESPN, admitted during a radio interview this past Friday that he allowed a defender to hit Mitchell because he was frustrated with the struggling quarterback when the two were Lions teammates in 1994.
"We were playing Green Bay in Milwaukee," Brown said on ESPN Radio's "SVP & Russillo" show. "We were getting beat 24-3 at the time, and (Mitchell) just stunk up the place, throwing interceptions, just everything. I looked at Kevin Glover, our All-Pro center, and I said, 'Glove, that is it.' I said, 'I'm getting him out of the game.'
"So I gave it the set out, but I got the gator arms on the guy at the last minute. He got around me. He hit Scott Mitchell. He did something to his finger. I don't know what he did to it, but he came out of the game. Dave Krieg came into the game. We ended up losing that game 27-24."
Six days after the interview, Brown addressed his comments Thursday on ESPN's "First Take," emphasizing that missing the block was an act of frustration.
"I regret it happened," Brown said. "Did I regret it happened then? No, I didn't regret it happened then.
"For my 18-year career, they say you average probably about 1,000 plays or so per (season). So I know I've played well over 18,000 plays, excluding practice, in this league. It's one play out of the 18,000 that I regret."
Mitchell also has responded publicly since Brown's initial interview, expressing anger and astonishment at his former teammate's admission.
"I was floored by that revelation," Mitchell recently told USA Today Sports. "I had Lomas in my home. I fed him dinner. I gave him and other offensive linemen gifts. I'm dumbfounded that he would do such a thing. I mean, people get hurt playing this game. People have died playing football, and for him to allow someone to take a shot at a teammate, that's crazy."
Brown spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Lions, starting in 163 games for Detroit from 1985 to 1995.
The play Brown referred to occurred Nov. 6, 1994, during Mitchell's first season with the Lions. Mitchell suffered a broken finger on his passing hand when Packers defensive end Sean Jones hit him on the play.
The Lions fell to 4-5 with the loss to the Packers that day but won five of their final seven games to make the playoffs.
"That was 1994, and I was extremely frustrated with the situation that was going on," Brown said Thursday. "I didn't try to get the guy hurt, but that's what ended up happening."
But Mitchell, who missed the rest of the 1994 season due to the injury, has publicly criticized Brown.
"That was my first year in Detroit, so Lomas barely knew me," Mitchell told USA Today. "If he had a problem with me, he could have come to me, man to man, and said so. ... To mess with someone's livelihood like that, to mess with their family and their health, that's reprehensible."
Mitchell also made similar comments during a recent interview on "The Dan Patrick Show" and has asserted that he doesn't intend to contact Brown to discuss the incident.
But Brown stated Thursday that he plans to reach out to Mitchell.
"I expected Scott to react that way," Brown said. "That's the way he should have reacted. I don't blame him for reacting that way. But Scott knows a lot of things that went on, too, in Detroit. ... If the shoe had been on the other foot, I probably would have reacted that way, too. I know I would have reacted that way, probably a little worse than that."
Mitchell also told USA Today that he was "hurt and upset" by the fashion in which Brown made the comments during the initial interview.
"How someone could do that to another person is inconceivable," Mitchell told the newspaper. "The amount of hatred you must have to do something like that and then brag about it."
Brown acknowledged Thursday that he should have taken a different approach.
"I'm not going to retract, I'm not going to sit here and make excuses," he said. "I know America is looking at me and they're like 'Wow!' but I'm not going to make excuses. ... The one thing I can say is I should have been more tactful at how I said that. That was wrong on my part. I should have humbly said that. It came off boastful, and I shouldn't have said it that way."