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Kitna's costume poking fun at assistant coach causes furor

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna and
his wife dressed up as a naked man and a fast-food drive-through
attendant at a teammate's Halloween party, depicting an
embarrassing moment for one of the team's assistant coaches.

Now Kitna is getting some flak on local TV and in a newspaper
column. Kitna said he was just trying to have fun, but regrets the
scrutiny the costumes created.

"If I would've known this, I wouldn't have done it because I
didn't want to try to bring attention to it," Kitna said Wednesday
while surrounded by reporters and television cameras.

Defensive line coach Joe Cullen pleaded no contest to disorderly
conduct and guilty to impaired driving after he was arrested twice
last year, once in August 2006 after police said he was driving
nude through a Wendy's drive-through lane, and a week later when
they said he was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Cullen later was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered
to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week.

"He's done everything they've asked of him," Lions coach Rod
Marinelli said before this season started. "And, there's a lot
more that he's had to do."

Marinelli said Kitna's costume was a non-issue with the team.

"It's Halloween," Marinelli said. "I'll leave it at that."

Cullen said "no comment" as he walked off the practice field
Wednesday, but the team said it asked him if the costume bothered
him.

"No, not at all," Cullen said in a statement released by the
team. "It's in the past.

Kitna and his wife wore the costumes to a teammate's charity
party Monday in suburban Detroit, where the prize for the best
outfit was a car.

"All I was trying to do was wear a costume that people would
have fun with," Kitna said. "I wasn't trying to demean Joe. If he
hadn't come so far, I would not ever have done it. He's very
confident of who he is and is very peaceful about what's happened
in the past.

"When we talked yesterday, the first question out of his mouth
was, 'Did you win?' He seemed to not have a problem with it."

Defensive tackle Cory Redding backed that notion.

"He was still red this morning because Kitna didn't win,"
Redding said. "It was all fun and games."

Kitna, a born-again Christian who invites teammates to his house
to explore their faith, also laughed at the costumes that poked fun
at him and his wife.

"Somebody dressed up as me and my wife and came in
Bible-thumping," Kitna said with a grin.