Forced Out? Kitna Refuses To Speak To Media

Something stinks in Detroit, and you can't blame Matt Millen any longer. Following Friday's practice session, injured quarterback Jon Kitna -- shelved each of the last three practices due to a bad back -- stirred the pot of controversy with some interesting remarks. More inside.

Something stinks in Detroit, and you can't blame Matt Millen any longer.

Following Friday's practice session, injured quarterback Jon Kitna -- shelved each of the last three practices due to a bad back -- stirred the pot of controversy with some interesting remarks.

After meeting with a back specialist earlier in the day, Kitna told the Detroit Free Press, "I really probably shouldn't talk to the media today. I can't be honest and truthful."

Normally outspoken and media friendly, Kitna would not respond to questions regarding the status of his back injury, which he suffered in the first-half of Sunday's 34-7 loss to Chicago. Said Kitna, "I can't comment. Sorry guys. Try to be honest with you guys."

The comments fanned the flames of speculation that head coach Rod Marinelli was being forced to bench Kitna, or perhaps, deal the veteran before next week's trade deadline.

Either scenario would fly in the face of Marinelli and the team's public comments about sticking with Kitna, but an 0-4 start and a struggling, injured quarterback would allow them a relatively unchallenged, fresh start behind center.

One source close to the situation said it was more likely that Kitna, a headstrong competitor, was told to rest his back -- perhaps against his preference, spurring his most recent flare-up of frustration.

Marinelli said he didn't have the results of Kitna's examination, nor was he aware of the extent of Kitna's injury.

The Detroit locker room has staunchly defended the 36-year old gun slinger, despite his struggles thus far into the season. Kitna has posted a rating of just 72.2, including five interceptions through four games. But it's his on and off the field attitude that has led many to believe that he isn't happy in Detroit, including a very public blow-up against the coaching staff in the team's opening week.

Kitna's glowing remarks of former coordinator and current San Francisco coach Mike Martz before and following a loss to the 49ers earlier in the season underscored his struggles with Detroit's new offensive strategy.

Marinelli maintained his stance that he would wait until Sunday morning to determine his starter, but continued to lean in favor of backup Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky and second-year quarterback Drew Stanton again split reps on Friday.

"When a guy doesn't practice, you always feel uncomfortable," said Marinelli. "Of course you'd like a guy to have plenty of reps."

Marinelli said that Orlovsky had "a good week of practice," and "he's got a lot of energy and stuff to him."


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