Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 9/10/12
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Revenge of the Handshake, call it what you want. The hype is already starting for Sundays prime-time showdown between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers because its a rematch between two fiery coaches who nearly got into a fight on the field. The last time they met, Week 6 last season, the 49ers rallied in the final two minutes for a 25-19 victory in Detroit. What happened next will be shown on replays repeatedly between now and kickoff. It was a postgame handshake that went bad. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, a former Michigan quarterback, was so giddy about the comeback victory that he actually pounded Lions coach Jim Schwartz on the back during their awkward exchange after the game. Schwartz took exception and chased down Harbaugh, leading to an altercation between the teams that could have gotten really ugly if cooler heads didn't prevail. Schwartz, not surprisingly, tried to downplay the whole controversy during his weekly Monday news conference. He did, however, confirm that he and Harbaugh have talked since the incident. Oh, sure, Ive seen him a bunch of times since, Schwartz said. Theres a bunch of NFL things that go on after the season. And how did those handshakes go? Without incident, Schwartz said. Asked if there were any apologies delivered, Schwartz answered, Im not going to go into what we talked about. Were making too big a deal about it already. Privately, Schwartz probably hasnt forgotten about it, won't forget about it and would love to beat Harbaugh badly. Schwartz wouldn't be the competitive coach that he is if that wasn't the case. Publicly, though, hed like it to die down so he doesnt have to answer any more questions. Thats long in the past, Schwartz said. It just seems so long ago that that occurred. When two teams take the field, thats not going to be on one players mind. Maybe, maybe not. For at least one Lions player, Sundays meeting at Candlestick Park in San Francisco is viewed as a definite chance for revenge, partly because of the coaching confrontation. Starting cornerback Chris Houston, who is hoping to return to the lineup after missing the opener because of an ankle injury, called it a Week 2 statement game for the two NFC rivals. Both teams are 1-0 and considered possible Super Bowl contenders. I think that was our first loss (after a 5-0 start), just the fight the coaches got (into), Houston said, recalling the events of last Oct. 16, 2011. We definitely got our coachs back. We want to go in there and try to pay them back for last year. I know their head coach is going to have them pumped up. Schwartz, he aint going to do too much talking. Were just going to go to work. May the best man win. Some of Houstons teammates know the handshake hype is coming, and theyre not as interested in getting involved in the issue. To them, its much ado about nothing. Or so they say. People love drama, linebacker Justin Durant said. Drama always sells. The two teams just have to go out there and play. Its not a fight for the two coaches. Yall are going to hype it up more than what it is, defensive end Cliff Avril told the media. At least in my book, theres no revenge-type thing going on. Still, there has to be some curiosity, even for the players, about the next Schwartz-Harbaugh meeting at midfield, doesnt there? Theyre going to have to stop and take a peak, too, right? Everybodys going to be looking for it, nothing's going to be there, Lions safety Erik Coleman said. Durant said: Ive got bigger problems like (running back) Frank Gore and (tight end) Vernon Davis to worry about. For everyone else, the anticipation for Sundays game and all the crazy hype that goes with it is likely to continue throughout the week. It will be billed as Schwartz vs. Harbaugh, Round 2. It doesnt surprise me, Schwartz said of the focus on the two coaches. The NFL is a very scrutinized thing. Theres something to the scrutiny in this league. I mean it comes with it. That's why football fans will be watching utnil the very end Sunday, regardless of the score and even though deep down they know it's probably going to be the most built-up, uneventful handshake in the history of mankind.
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