McDaniels says Phillips partly to blame
Apologetic for two recently publicized incidents, Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels nevertheless wants to set the record straight -- he's not a trash-talking renegade.
Specifically, McDaniels clarified an alleged incident with San Diego Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips during last Sunday's pregame warm-ups in which Phillips claimed the Broncos coach boasted, "We own you" before the Chargers delivered a 32-3 lashing of their AFC West rival in Denver.
"I was two or three steps out of the tunnel when Shaun Phillips raced up to me with his helmet off and said, 'I'll kick your [expletive] ass, too,' " explained McDaniels. "I'm not saying I felt physically threatened but that's exactly the way it went down. It surprised me in a way but we played them a lot when I was in New England and he's always been that kind of guy.
"I wasn't out there trash-talking their players, going through their drills. This guy has been doing this since I've been in the league and, because they won, he takes the liberty of telling his side of the story. I didn't swear at him or threaten him. What I actually said was, 'I've heard the same thing from you for four or five years now, and when I was in New England, we owned you.'"
The Broncos coach added, "Now, I'll apologize for that but it was nothing like [Phillips] portrayed."
After the Chargers 43-14 win over Kansas City on Sunday, Phillips clarified his role in the verbal spat with McDaniels to ESPN.com's Bill Williamson. He apologized to the Denver coach for his words, which he said were misinterpreted.
Phillips said he wasn't trying to threaten McDaniels.
"I said "We're going to beat that [rear end],'" Phillips said. "I meant it by our team, not me. I meant we're going to win. In no way was I threatening or challenging him personally. I'm sorry if he felt that way. I respect him. It's up to him to accept my apology."
Phillips said he has moved on from the situation.
"It's so last week," Phillips said.
McDaniels indicated the Broncos have asked the league to investigate the incident that preceded the Chargers' decisive victory on Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello previously had said the league was not reviewing the event.
"I don't think [Chargers coach] Norv Turner knows what happened and I know he wouldn't approve of it," said McDaniels. "If one of my players ever did that, I'd be livid. I think any coach would be."
Chargers spokesman Bill Johnston said the team was unaware of the allegation that Phillips charged McDaniels in a confrontational manner.
"We've moved on and we're not going to lower ourselves by responding," said Johnston.
McDaniels said he was reluctant to issue an immediate detailed public response to Phillips' version in part because the Broncos had a short week to prepare for Thursday night's win over the New York Giants. During that NFL Network Thanksgiving national telecast, McDaniels was seen and heard cussing at his team in the bench area in what turned out to be an in-game taped segment.
"I'm not going to apologize for coaching the game but I apologize that people had to hear that," McDaniels said.
"These two things happened four days apart and people have asked me about it. I'm hearing that I'm being called a renegade coach and that I'm always trying to stir things up and [media] are asking questions based on erroneous information. I even read where [Steelers safety] Ryan Clark wanted the commissioner to do something about a coach taunting players. I have a lot of respect for Ryan Clark and that bothers me.
"I'm not trying to exacerbate the situation by talking about it but if somebody is going to make a judgment about me, I'd appreciate it if they had all the facts and properly report it."
Information from ESPN's Ed Werder, ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and ESPN.com's Bill Williamson was used in this report.