DETROIT >> The Detroit Lions will be short-handed when they face Green Bay for the NFC North title.
Lions center Dominic Raiola has been suspended for one game after he stepped on Chicago Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson on Sunday. The punishment was handed down by Merton Hanks, the NFL’s vice president of football operations. The league said this was Raiola’s sixth rules violation related to player safety since 2010.
Lions players were not available to reporters Monday, and coach Jim Caldwell addressed reporters before the suspension was announced. Even then, Caldwell seemed aware of the possibility.
“I believe what Dom told me, that it was inadvertent, but I could also see why it’s obviously being reviewed by the league and everybody is taking a real good look at it,” Caldwell said. “You can also see the other side of that as well. There’s a league protocol to it, it’ll be reviewed and taken a look at. We’ll deal with the issues after there’s been some determination here.”
Raiola can appeal the suspension.
Raiola stepped on Ferguson’s right ankle while the Chicago lineman was on the ground early in the third quarter. Raiola said after the game it was not intentional, and that he talked to Ferguson and apologized.
Cutler to start finale for Bears with Clausen out
LAKE FOREST, Ill. >> Quarterback Jay Cutler is returning to the Chicago Bears’ lineup and will start the final game of the season after Jimmy Clausen suffered a concussion.
The Bears are going back to Cutler for this week’s game at Minnesota after benching him for Sunday’s loss to Detroit.
Clausen was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Detroit’s Ezekiel Ansah while scrambling on Chicago’s final drive of Sunday’s 20-14 loss. Ansah received an unnecessary roughness penalty.