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Lions vice chairman Bill Ford calls Bears 'a bunch of thugs'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

The Detroit-Chicago rivalry is getting pretty heated.
The Detroit-Chicago rivalry is getting pretty heated.(USATSI)

The Bears and Lions have a pretty intense rivalry. It's been that way for years, despite Detroit's long dip into mediocrity. And Lions vice chairman Bill Ford just poured some more fuel on the fire.

Ford, speaking at the Lions Courage House dinner on Tuesday, called -- jokingly, according to the Lions -- the Bears "a bunch of thugs."

"It was really alive, and it was alive when we played those same bunch of thugs on Monday Night a couple (years ago)," Ford said of the atmosphere at Ford Field last Sunday. "When this place gets going it's electric and we do have wonderful fans. Our fans are amazing and we would love to pay them back and bring home a winner, and I love the way this team is playing right now."

Detroit handed Chicago a 40-32 loss in an exciting game (mostly for Detroit) that showed, as CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel wrote, just how valuable Reggie Bush can be for the Lions and just how damaging Jay Cutler can be for the Bears.

Of course it was also a game that managed to miff Lions coach Jim Schwartz because he believes the Bears got away with some not-quite-clean hits.

"We talk a lot about player safety and things like that and he's laying prone on the ground, is giving himself up and takes a helmet right to the back and we don't any call there,” Schwartz said. “It's a little hypocritical to talk about player safety when we allow that to not get called. But Kris toughed it out and he had to hold onto that ball and he did. And he did a nice job today."

Schwartz was referring to, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free-Press notes, a hit from Bears linebacker on Jon Bostic that he believes warranted some sort of penalty at the very least.

It stands to reason that if Schwartz isn't thrilled with the hits Bears players were busting out that the chairman has similar feelings. Even if Ford was joking it probably won't stop Chicago from using his comments as bulletin board material going forward.

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