MINNEAPOLIS -- The kick seen around the (NFL) world Sunday was "cowardly," according to the recipient. It was "something that hopefully I won't repeat in the future," according to the kicker.
So went the reactions of Green Bay Packers offensive lineman T.J. Lang and Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison to the latest NFC North altercation that is sure to be replayed about a couple hundred or so times before it loses steam. For those who missed it, Robison kicked Lang squarely in the groin after Mason Crosby's 39-yard field goal in the second quarter of the Packers' 33-27 victory.
"It is what it is," Robison said. "It happened. There's nothing I can do about it. It's something that if I could go back, I wouldn't have done it. There's nothing I could do about it now. There was a penalty, and hopefully it won't happen in the future."
Said Lang: "It was really surprising. You don't want to see that in a football game. I think it was a pretty cowardly move on his part. I don't think I did anything to get that reaction."
Lang said he and another Packers player stopped Robison from shooting a gap during the field goal attempt.
"We caught his legs and pushed him," Lang said. "He landed on his back. I didn't say anything to him. He just responded."
Robison described the block a bit differently and implied he was provoked. He said officials "always catch the second guy" and added: "From what I hear, it didn't show up on the TV copy. But if you watch the game, you can clearly see that he kind of picked me up in midair, put me on my back and started coming toward me. So I was automatically in defense mode.
"It was in the heat of the moment. In hindsight, I wish it wouldn't have happened."
I'm not sure if a body slam, even if it occurred that way, necessitates a groin kick in retaliation. So kudos to Robison for owning up to what was an overreaction at the very least.
Asked if he was OK after the kick, Lang laughed and said: "Well, I'm glad I already had one son." He also tweeted: "Glad to report my genitalia are in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery!"
Turning serious during a postgame interview, he added: "I don't think there is any room in the game for that kind of move. We'll see if there is any [discipline]. From what it sounds like, the TV cameras caught it pretty well. I think it should be the same as a punch."
Expect Robison to receive an NFL fine. Unless, of course, the league decides it wasn't a fight. We've already seen precedent for how the league treats contact between two team employees that falls short of a fight.