Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy responded publicly Monday to Jim Harbaugh’s comments about Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews.
McCarthy also spoke privately to his team in the aftermath of Harbaugh’s press conference, during which time he labeled Matthews’ out-of-bounds hit on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a “cheap shot.”
Said McCarthy, “I have no idea what his intent is. I addressed Harbaugh’s comments in the team meeting, and as always we’ll stay above it.”
Matthews was called for a personal foul on the play and faces a fine from the NFL office later in the week. Matthews also appeared to take two swipes at 49ers left tackle Joe Staley during the ensuing melee. Harbaugh mocked Matthews’ “slap” of Staley.
“That young man works very hard on being a tough guy," Harbaugh said. "He'll have some repairing to do on his image after that slap. ... If you're gonna go to the face, come with some knuckles, not an open slap.”
[RELATED: Harbaugh: Matthews' image takes hit]
McCarthy defended Matthews on Monday, the day after the 49ers’ 34-28 victory over the Packers, saying, “Clay Matthews is not a dirty player, by no means.” But McCarthy did not condone Matthews’ actions on the play that drew the penalty. “I thought it was a bad decision by Clay,” McCarthy said. “I think he was overzealous. I know he left his feet.
[INSTANT REPLAY: 49ers 34, Packers 28]
“Playing hard. I think it’s football. I think much is blown out of proportion. Clay played very well in the game. That was one of his couple bad plays.”