Bears quarterback Jim McMahon said Friday the team's trainer Fred Caito is "backstabbing" him by telling players he is fit to play but unwilling to do so.
McMahon's comments came in response to criticism from Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton, who implied Thursday McMahon was malingering. McMahon has not played since he sprained a knee during last month's loss to the New England Patriots.
"If we keep waiting on someone who more or less is not concerned with our future, I think we're lost," Hampton said.
Hampton was interviewed on WLUP-AM. McMahon responded in a regular call-in show on WLS-AM. "He lipped off a couple years ago in '86," McMahon said of Hampton. "I think the biggest problem is we have a trainer who sits back in that trainer room backstabbing people. And he's got an idea that I didn't want to play last week, which is ridiculous. He puts that in people's head and they believe him. "I don't really care what Dan Hampton says. That's the way he is. He's out for himself. He's just whining because he didn't make the Pro Bowl."
The Bears clinched the NFC Central for the fifth straight year last weekend, and also clinched home-field advantage through the playoffs. Thus, Chicago's game against Minnesota is meaningless in the standings. Bears Coach Mike Ditka has indicated Mike Tomczak will start against the Vikings.
In Cleveland many of the problems also revolve around the quarterback as the Browns prepare for their biggest game this season.
The Browns play Sunday against Houston. A win puts Cleveland in the playoffs for the fourth straight year. A loss eliminates the Browns.
Browns tackle Cody Risien is upset with quarterback Bernie Kosar for criticism of the offensive line after Monday's 38-31 loss to Miami.
Kosar was sacked only once, but was banged several times after throwing, including a hit by linebacker John Offerdahl that caused a sprained knee that probably will keep Kosar from playing against Houston.
Kosar, who has been sacked 20 times in the past five games, said Monday, "We've been taking hits like this the past few weeks, so it (the injury) was really inevitable."
Risien and Kosar exchanged words earlier in the game after Kosar was knocked down after passes on successive plays. Kosar downplayed the incident this week, but Risien indicated he was upset.
"I'm not going to waste my time worrying about what he meant with that comment," Risien said. "It's really not worth elaborating on."
Another lineman, who was not identified, told The Akron Beacon Journal there's "dissension on this team, and I'm afraid it's creating a split at the worst possible time."
Ten of the 14 games this weekend have playoff significance, beginning with today's contests _ Washington at Cincinnati and New England at Denver.
A Cincinnati victory gives the Bengals the AFC Central crown. The Patriots will be an AFC wild-card team if they win, and could get into the playoffs with a loss if Cleveland and Indianapolis lose.