The man at the center of what has become a coast-to-coast battle among coaches seemed amused at the whole kerfuffle.
"I really don't know what he's talking about, to be honest with you," Justin Smith said in reaction to Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride's Thursday comment that Smith "gets away with murder" in terms of holding offensive linemen.
"If he's trying to get some bulletin board stuff, good for him," Smith said. "Whatever they need to do." Later, Smith said, "Whatever. Doesn't bother me. I'm going to have to look (Gilbride) up, see who he is."
Asked if he was concerned the opposing team was trying to influence the officials, Smith said he's the one constantly being held by offensive linemen.
"There's nothing to call," he said of defensive holding. "I don't know what he's talking about, to be honest with you. Whatever they need to do. I mean, I read some of the other stuff (like) 'no respect.' I mean, they're the defending Super Bowl champs. So whatever. We'll be ready, they'll be ready. It'll be a good game."
Smith's head coach took Gilbride's comments much more seriously, going so far as to send off a 51-word press release decrying the comments as absurd and accusing the Giants of trying to influence the officials. Jim Harbaugh met with the media an hour after the statement was released and - for perhaps the first time in the history of press releases - didn't want to talk about the topic. "Moved on," he said to multiple questions on the topic.
"There's nothing to expand on," Harbaugh said. "I said what I felt. ... Heard about (Gilbride's comments) this morning and jotted down my reaction and felt like I should send it right away. So it's been addressed, now we'll move on."
"It's just the type of guy he is," Smith said of Harbaugh's reaction. "Like I said, I'm kind of in the dark on the whole controversy or whatever. But he's always going to do that. He's a good player's coach, and he's got your back on whatever the topic is. And this is just another example."
Is he at least upset that Gilbride said he gets away with murder?
"Hey, better than getting caught with it," Smith said.
If, like Smith, you don't know who Gilbride is, he's the guy taking a Buddy Ryan punch in the clip below:
-- Matt Barrows