Any publicity is good publicity — or is it?
That will be up to Nike to decide after Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola stepped on the ankle of Chicago Bears defensive lineman Ego Ferguson yesterday during the third quarter of Detroit’s 20-14 victory — in none other than a pair of its cleats. Nike is the official footwear of the Detroit Lions.
According to Raiola, who apologized to Ferguson, the incident was purely accidental. Ferguson, who had a different spin on what happened, was luckily able to able to return to the game.
In a story in today’s Chicago Tribune, the paper explained that after a 4-yard run by Joique Bell, Ferguson was facedown on the grass when Raiola skipped by and planted his left cleat into Ferguson’s right ankle. Although it noted officials didn’t see the incident, the league office will review Raiola’s actions.
The 29-year-old Raiola, who has played for the Lions his entire pro career, has had professional run-ins before. Following a game against the New England Patriots last month, The Detroit Free Press reported that Raiola admitted to taking a cheap shot at Zach Moore, the Patriots defensive tackle, during the last play of the game.
Back in 2011, a similar incident occurred, noted the Chicago Tribune, when in 2011 Lions teammate Ndamukong Suh was suspended for two games after his stomp on Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.
Despite Raiola’s sometimes questionable tactics, he became the first player in the team’s history to start 200 games.