Does the revenge factor exist in the NFL? An eye-for-an-eye type of deal?
Kind of. Well, sort of, because football isn't a street fight, no matter how much we try to portray the violence of the pro game.
Two weeks ago, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen launched himself into Bears guard Lance Louis on an interception return. With Louis' left leg planted firmly, something had to give.
That "something" was Louis' left knee.
The ACL? Gone. The 2012 season for Louis? Finished. The already suspect offensive line? Down a man.
Just like that, the Bears lost their starting right guard for the remainder of the season because of a blind-side hit the NFL docked Allen $21,000 for delivering. The season rolled on after the typical slap on the wrist from the league office.
A dirty hit? Yeah, I can agree with that. But we see these blow-up shots every week. And injuries, well, they happen. They're hazards of the job. Once you put a helmet on, you are putting yourself at serious risk on Sundays and beyond.
But that doesn't mean the Bears will sweep this under the rug, right?
This isn't about bounties. Nope. Not even close. This is about playing physical football.
You want to get Allen back for taking out one of your guys? Run the ball right at him. Then do it again. And again. Make Allen the focus of your game plan early in the first quarter with two-back power runs that allow you to pull a lineman or send a lead blocker directly at the defensive end.
Knock him down. Then help him up. But make sure you remind Allen you are going to put a hat on him for the next three hours.
In the passing game, slide the protection to Allen, allow the running backs to get a shot on him with a chip block or cut him down at the knees.
Hey, that's legal, clean stuff.
Now, I haven't sat in one of coach Lovie Smith's meeting rooms for more than a decade. That's a long time removed from the chalkboard breakdowns of Cover-2 or zone blitz schemes. I was just a kid, playing under the then-defensive coordinator of the Rams.
But I can tell you Smith doesn't teach cheap, dirty football. That's not his style to coach up players to target the opposition. And I don't see that starting now just because one of his guys was taken out.
Upset? Angry? A little pissed off that Allen blew out the knee of one of his players? I'm sure he was. Any coach would be on a questionable hit. But that doesn't mean Smith suddenly will change his approach.
I'm sure Allen has been discussed in the locker room at Halas Hall because that's what players do. In between complaining about management, they shoot the bull. A trip to Minnesota? That means another matchup versus Allen. And they all remember what happened at Soldier Field.
Maybe the idea of Allen standing next to the pile or chasing down a play from behind has been discussed as an opportunity to light him up. Maybe not.
However, this Bears team is too professional and doesn't need to bend the rules to take a shot at Allen.
They will use their pads within the game plan to send the message. That will work just fine.
Special contributor Matt Bowen, who played at Glenbard West and Iowa, spent seven seasons in the NFL as a strong safety. You also can find his work at nationalfootballpost.com.