Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, who was placed on the injured reserve list on Tuesday, said Wednesday that the team wanted to replace him as the starter and used his back injury as an excuse to do so.
"They decided they wanted to go in a different direction," Kitna said in an interview Wednesday on WJR-AM. "And I guess the thing for me is, that's fine. Let's just say that."
Earlier Wednesday, when asked if the Lions were using Kitna's injury as an excuse to play Dan Orlovsky and Drew Stanton, Lions coach Rod Marinelli said, "No," according to the Detroit Free Press. Orlovsky has since been named the Lions' starter.
Kitna was placed on injured reserve with a bulging disk in his back that was causing a pinched nerve. But he believes that he would have felt healthy enough to play by Friday.
"Was there reasonable cause to put me on IR? Yeah, because they said there's a bulging disk. But the reality is, most guys have bulging disks," Kitna said in the interview.
"I really feel like I could have played last Sunday at probably above 90 percent healthwise," he said in the interview. "I played the last two years most of the time probably 75 to 80 percent healthwise with different type of things."
But team director of athletic medicine Dean Kleinschmidt said the Lions told Kitna not to travel with the team for medical reasons, and recommended he go on the IR. He said Kitna aggravated a pre-existing condition and has a lower-back disk injury, according to the Free Press.
"This one was pretty troublesome," Kleinschmidt said, according to the report. "I think he'll tell you that it was at least as bad, if not worse, than the previous ones."
Marinelli, when asked if the team could have kept Kitna on the active roster to see how his back heals, said, "Well, that was just our decision … That's where we decided to go," according to the report.
But Kitna, who has been unhappy with the Lions' offense since the team fired former offensive coordinator Mike Martz, alleged during his radio interview that the Lions were trying to make him look selfish.
"That's the one thing that really bothers me the most," Kitna said in the interview. "You want to make a change? Hey, I can see that. I understand the position. I understand how things go in this league. But let's make a change and let's say what it is.
"I don't like the fact that somehow you're making me into being this selfish person or this person who was only out for himself, because that was never the case.
"If that was the case, then I would have tried to go a different route and get myself out of here in the offseason knowing the philosophical difference and the things we were going to do differently, which was obviously going to diminish the numbers I was able to put up individually."
According to the Free Press, Lions GM Martin Mayhew has said there is no chance the Lions will release Kitna, who has one year left on his contract.
"I'm going to take this time to just try to get my body as healthy as I can get it," Kitna told WJR-AM. "Then in the offseason, they have a decision to make whether they're going to keep me or not.
"I'm not going to go and beg somebody to release me or do anything like that, because that's just not who I am. I let a man be a man, and if they want to make that decision, then so be it. They know I want to play football."