Mitchell backs off calling Brees 'soft'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- One thing you can count on in politics and sports: Something you say one day is going to be brought back up again if it is remotely controversial or inflammatory.

It happened Wednesday to Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell when he was reminded about calling New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees soft.

Mitchell made the comment on a Fox Sports L.A. podcast after the Saints defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-20 in Week 11. It was in reference to a late sack of Brees in which safety Ahmad Brooks was penalized for a hit to the head and neck, negating a fumble.

"The thing that I hated about the play -- the whole thing -- and this is what these offensive guys are doing: They’re kind of running with it," Mitchell said on the podcast. "Drew Brees is throwing a fit in the postgame interview saying how he got hit in the chin and he was dazed, and all this other stuff. And it’s like, 'Dude, the replay clearly shows he did not even touch you in the chin.'

"Stop being soft, get up off the ground. You fumbled the football, that’s why the only reason you were acting like you were hurt, is so you could draw a flag."

So naturally, as the Panthers (9-3) prepare to face Brees and the Saints (9-3) on Sunday night in New Orleans, the comments resurfaced.

"I don’t really think he’s a soft player," Mitchell said Wednesday. "Obviously, he’s a very, very, very good quarterback, and I have a lot of respect for what he’s done as a player and what he’s done in this league.

"It was really just more of a comment on the rule changes. It was really a 15-minute interview where someone took 45 seconds and made an article out of it."

He should have expected it.