Minnesota safety Darren Sharper told the Chicago media via conference call at Halas Hall on Wedneday that Grossman talked some of the worst trash that he's heard in his professional career. Considering that the former Packer has been in the league 10 years and made three Pro Bowls in the process, that's really saying something. Sharper appears to be extra movitated to get the best of Grossman this Sunday at Soldier Field and seemed genuinely offended by whatever it was he said the last time they faced each other.
As you might expect, Sharper refused to go into detail as to what exactly was exchanged between the two.
"I probably said some things that I regret," Grossman admitted on Wednesday. "But the whole game, their DBs were talking to me. Just really getting under my skin a little bit and probably more than I should have allowed it to. But they were just yapping the whole game."
Grossman struggled for the majority of that game before hitting Davis for the winning score late in the fourth quarter. After two relatively easy victories against the Packers and Lions to open the 2006 schedule, the Vikings intercepted him twice and had the game in hand before Chicago's Tommie Harris stripped Minnesota's Chester Taylor of the football and gave Grossman one last oppportunity to get it done. He responded by throwing the first fourth-quarter TD pass of his career and helped complete a sweep of the NFC North to start the season.
Grossman was asked what set him off and why he felt the need to attack the Vikings verbally.
"I threw the interception for the touchdown," he said, "and Dwight Smith came up and smacked me on my helmet and was in my face. It was just kind of one of those deals facing all that adversity, that whole crowd, and just so emotional when we finally got the touchdown pass that I probably went overboard a little bit with some of my emotions, some of the things I said. But it was in that moment. I regret it, but I had all that pent up inside that I had to let it go."
He has always had a reputation as a confident young man who plays with a certain amount of bravado, but is Grossman secretly a Joradanesque trash-talker, as well?
"I don't ever do that," he said. "It was the first time I did it all year. If something like that happens where someone's on me the whole game, talking trash the whole game and then you make a play like that to win the game, I couldn't help it but say something."
Grossman reiterated that flapping his gums is out of character for him and explained that his behavior was simply a heat-of-the-moment exchange.
"I never talk trash," he said. "You don't want to get them pumped up. But at that point, maybe that was the only situation where I could let it go. It was pissing me off. To throw a touchdown pass to win the game and all that emotion and all that excitement and have all that pent up aggression, I couldn't help but say something.
Sharper was the one to blow the lid off this supposedly forgotten about story, but Grossman says that it was another Vikings defensive back that was the target of his verbal barrage.
"It wasn't really ever at Darren Sharper," he clarified. "It was mostly at Dwight Smith. Darren Sharper never said a word. I think it was more in response to backing up Dwight Smith because he turned his back. He wouldn't let me talk to him. But yeah, I regret it, and it's hopefully a situation that never comes up."
When asked if a lingering situation like this will give the Vikings any added motivation to upset the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, Grossman feels that both teams already have plenty of reasons to play to their potential.
"There's plenty of incentive for both teams to go out there and play their best, a lot of motivation," he said. "I think [the media] will play this up more than it should be, and I think Darren Sharper's probably playing it up more than it should be. It was just a situation where I probably should have not ever said anything throughout the whole game. But at that point in time, I just had to. I just couldn't help myself."
And what did he say that was so colorful?
"It doesn't matter," he said with a devilish grin.
Maybe it doesn't. But one thing's for sure. It certainly mattered to Sharper.
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