File image from the Associated Press.
(USA TODAY) - At his home and office in Utah, Scott Mitchell keeps memorabilia from his 14-year career as an NFL quarterback, including the cast from a broken right wrist he suffered in 1994, his first season with the Detroit Lions.
He was glancing at it Wednesday while trying to understand why a former teammate, ex-Lions offensive lineman Lomas Brown, would gleefully tell a radio audience recently how he intentionally blew a block so Mitchell would take a hit that resulted in that broken wrist.
It happened on Nov. 6, 1994. Mitchell was 5-for-15 for 63 yards and two interceptions when Packers defensive end Sean Jones hit him. Eighteen years later, it still stings.
"I was floored by that revelation," Mitchell 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 said he intentionally missed the block, hoping Mitchell would suffer an injury that would force him out of the game, because, Brown said, Mitchell was playing badly. Here's how Brown, now an NFL analyst, described it on ESPN radio:
"We were playing Green Bay in Milwaukee. We were getting beat, (24-0), at that time, and (Mitchell) just stunk up the place. He's throwing interceptions, just everything. So I looked at Kevin Glover, our All-Pro center, and I said, 'Glove, that is it.' I said, 'I'm getting him out the game.' ... So, 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 ... and he came out the game. Dave Krieg came in the game."
Mitchell, a left-hander, remembers the play, a freakish, glancing blow on his extended non-throwing arm.
"That was my first year in Detroit, so Lomas barely knew me," Mitchell said. "If he had a problem with me, he could have come to me, man to man, and said so. Be a man about it. But to mess with someone's livelihood like that, to mess with their family and their health, that's reprehensible."
Mitchell said he hasn't spoken to Brown since the statements, and doesn't intend to contact him. He said the remarks "really hurt and upset me. How someone could do that to another person is inconceivable. The amount of hatred you must have to do something like that and then brag about it ..."
"I would never do that to a teammate," Mitchell added. "That's a blatant disrespect for the game. Players at that level play hard every play. If Lomas doesn't think this is serious, if he thinks this is a joke, tell him to think about Mike Utley, his old teammate. Mike Utley spends his days in a wheelchair because of an injury he got playing this game."
Mitchell insisted he won't let Brown steal from him one of the greatest memories he has of the game -- the friendships he created with teammates.
"I played with Barry Sanders in Detroit and Dan Marino in Miami during my first four years. I sat between Dan Marino and Don Shula in quarterback meetings," Mitchell said. "How cool is that? I played with Ray Lewis and Rod Woodson. One of the best things about playing in the NFL is the relationships you make, not just with star players but everyone in the locker room.
"I hope Kevin Glover wasn't involved in this, because he's one of my favorite teammates of all time. I remember when (Lions linebacker) Reggie Brown was seriously injured on the field (spinal cord contusion), and Kevin Glover ran the length of the field and through the tunnel to get the ambulance.
"I don't even want to think that he was involved in any way."
This wasn't Brown's first shot at Mitchell. In a television appearance in November, Brown criticized Mitchell's tackling: "I played with a guy named Scott Mitchell. 6-5, 250 pounds," Brown said. "And when he threw an interception, fetal position. ... And as a lineman, you throw it, I want you to come help me get this guy. Don't just lay in the fetal position and expect me to get it."
"As you can tell, I'm just not a big fan of Scott Mitchell," Brown said last week. "He's not on my Christmas list."
The feeling is mutual.
"I sleep well at night," Mitchell said. "Does he?"