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Clinton-Dix apologizes for sideline spat with Peppers

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Another ugly meltdown by the Green Bay defense triggered a spat of embarrassing in-fighting during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 37-29 loss to the undefeated Panthers.

After Carolina quarterback Cam Newton hit rookie Devin Funchess for a 14-yard score that put the Panthers up 37-14, FOX cameras captured Packers pass rusher Julius Peppers jawing with safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix before defensive tackle B.J. Raji separated the pair.

After the game, Packers players and coaches downplayed the tiff.

"Sometimes it's an emotional game, sometimes things are said, things are done," Raji said, per ESPN.com's Jason Wilde. "But ultimately we're a family, and we stick together. We'll discuss it and move forward. It's an in-house thing, it's a family issue and we'll take care of it."

Clinton-Dix told reporters he was "talking to" Peppers and "telling him to keep us going, keep us pumped up," adding: "That was it. Just a lot of emotions and a lot of things going on."

Asked why Raji decided to step in, Clinton-Dix wouldn't bite, saying: "You've got to take that up with B.J. I don't know what's wrong with B.J., but it was just a lot of emotions."

Clinton-Dix later took responsibility on Twitter for the sideline dispute:

"You want emotional guys on the team. That's what we have. Sometimes, emotions flare. It happens," Peppers said, per Wilde. "We were down 20 points, obviously. If you're not frustrated and you're not upset, then something's wrong."

Coach Mike McCarthy echoed Peppers, telling reporters, per Mike Clemens of Sirius XM NFL Radio, that he held "no concerns" over the incident, saying: "That's what happens when you're not playing up to our standards of football."

McCarthy later said the sideline kerfuffle might have actually benefited his team.

"Frankly, a part of me likes it. It shows they're passionate and they care," said McCarthy during a team news conference Monday, via ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "Frankly, we actually played well after that. We should probably do that in pregame next game."

After giving up 500-plus yards in back-to-back losses, it's easy to see why Green Bay's defense was edgy on Sunday. The scuffle is not a lasting concern, but the messy performance on this side of the ball most certainly is.

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