SANTA CLARA — 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh threw a verbal punch at long-haired Packers linebacker Clay Matthews during Monday’s press conference.
“If you’re going to go to the face, come with some knuckles, not an open slap. That young man [Matthews] works very hard on being a tough guy. He’ll have some repairing to do to his image after the slap.”
Harbaugh was referencing Matthews’ conduct following his leaping clothesline late hit on Colin Kaepernick as he ran out of bounds in the second quarter of San Francisco’s 34-28 win over Green Bay.
An emotionally-charged left tackle Joe Staley immediately rushed over to the scene and locked up Matthews by grabbing his shoulder pads. Players are taught to do this in defense of clear late hits on the quarterback.
Matthews then threw a punch and a slap to Staley’s helmet before players from both teams joined the brief sideline skirmish.
Both players drew penalties that offset, but the league ruled earlier today that Staley shouldn’t have been penalized after reviewing the game tape. No word of any pending fine or suspension for Matthews.
Leading up to Sunday’s game, Matthews vowed to hit Kaepernick hard and often on gameday.