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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Jim Harbaugh: Clay Matthews will have to work on ‘tough guy’ image after slap

Clay-Matthews-Single-Season-Sack-RecordThe second Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews committed a penalty with a late hit on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, you knew Jim Harbaugh would have sound be sounding off in response. The outspoken coach didn’t disappoint.

On Monday, Harbaugh gave his take on the Matthews clothesline and ensuing “slap” of Joe Staley.

“If you’re going to go to the face, come with some knuckles, not an open slap,” Harbaugh said, via Cam Inman of the Mercury News. “That young man works very hard on being a tough guy. He’ll have some repairing to do to his image after the slap.”

Harbaugh probably feels even more inclined to call Matthews a “tough guy” after the former USC star spoke about targeting Kaepernick in the week leading up to the game. As for the hit itself, Harbaugh said it reminded him of former New York Giants and Packers Hall of Fame safety Elmen Tunnell.

“You talk about launching,” he said. “You talk about a clothesline to the neck area when our quarterback’s six, seven feet out of bounds. “Back when that was legal, (Tunnell) would stand in the middle of the field and wait for a receiver to cross and clothes line them. Their feet would fly in the area. Their backs would hit the ground. I was struck, ‘I’m seeing Emlen Tunnell here.’”

The comments were classic Harbaugh, as no coach is more animated when it comes to defending their players than he is. Matthews is a sack machine who does his best to intimidate opponents, which is something you want from a linebacker. However, Harbaugh and Kaepernick have been adamant about showing that the Niners have no intention of backing down from anything of the sort.

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