ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Willie Young – “Mr. August” – taunting a future Hall of Fame quarterback.
What’s wrong with that picture?
Young, a defensive end for the Detroit Lions who was a star in the preseason last year but a flop in the regular season, wouldn’t disclose what he said late in the first half of Thursday’s exhibition game to draw a personal-foul penalty or why he did it.
Young had pressured New England’s Tom Brady into an incomplete pass and then, inexplicably, grabbed Brady’s jersey and started pointing in the quarterback’s face.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz immediately removed Young and benched him for the rest of the game, a 40-9 victory over the Patriots.
“I just can’t do things to hurt the team,” Young said following Saturday afternoon’s practice. Asked to elaborate, Young said, “What I said is between the lines. What happened between the lines stay between the lines.”
Young, who indicated that Brady did not do anything to provoke him, said that the incident is “in the past.”
“I’m moving on to Buffalo,” Young said several times, referring to next Thursday’s final preseason game against the Bills.
As for whether he typically learns from his mistakes, Young said: “Oh, definitely. Definitely. I’m not a guy that has a trend of creating and doing stuff that’s going to hurt the team. Never. I can’t do stuff to hurt the team.”
Schwartz, who has been criticized for the Lions’ repeated lack of discipline both on and off the field, was not accepting any explanations for what occurred in Young’s case.
“There’s a lot of penalties you can get,” the coach said. “We’re trying to avoid penalties the best we can. You’re not going to see us take a guy out of the game because of a face mask or because of a holding play or something like that.
“Generally, penalties are the result of bad technique, missed communication or even a mismatch.
“But when you get foolishness like that that’s well after the play, the only thing that accomplishes is hurt the team. That’s not what we’re going to be about.”
INJURY UPDATE — A knee injury sustained by running back Montell Owens, a key special-teams member, apparently is not going to keep him out long term.
With the regular-season opener two weeks away, Schwartz has started to enforce his policy of limiting what he says about injuries.
“We don’t have anybody that’s long term, but other than that we’re not going to make any injury announcements,” Schwartz said. “I don’t have any comment on any physical conditions.”
— Receiver Calvin Johnson, who hasn’t played the last two exhibitions because of a bruised knee, was one of several Lions who missed practice.
When asked if he’s going to be ready for the regular season, Johnson said, “Yeah. You’ve got to talk to coach about it.”
Some of the other players who were out, including defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and cornerback Chris Houston, were more than likely just getting an extra day to heal up some familiar aches and pains.
— Safety Glover Quin, who left the game with a hip injury, was back on the field Saturday.
— Backup quarterback Shaun Hill, who was inactive Thursday while recovering from an undisclosed ailment, also returned to practice.