Ravens veteran strong safety James Ihedigbo denied an allegation by Cleveland Browns wide receiver Greg Little that he choked him at the bottom of a pile during Sunday's game.
Little told Cleveland reporters Wednesday that was why he ripped off Ihedigbo's helmet and launched it toward the sideline, drawing the first of two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for altercations with the Ravens' veteran defensive back.
Ihedigbo wasn't penalized during either exchange.
"It's kind of unfortunate that this is even being an issue," said Ihedigbo during an interview with Baltimore reporters after being informed of Little's remarks. "It's a divisional game, things get physical and get rowdy. I would never personally cross the lines or play outside the rules in any manner. You can freeze the clips. I have my hand on his chest. He ripped off my helmet and threw it.
"I guess looking back on him losing his cool and saying what took place that didn't take place. The refs would have seen it, other players would have seen it. And I would have been punished for the play as well. That didn't take place. He lost his cool. He threw my helmet. Therefore, the penalty was given on him. To sit back and say now all this other stuff happened and it's Wednesday and the game happened on Sunday is kind of ridiculous to me."
There are still photographs of Ihedigbo and Little on the bottom of the pile where they're mixing it up and it looks like Ihedigbo's hands are up around the neck area. However, it's inconclusive whether Ihedigbo choked Little.
"I know the ref was saying 'let go of his face mask,' but he was choking me, so I'm not (going to let go),'' Little told Cleveland reporters. "There's a thin line between football and just morals and if you're a man, you're not going to let a guy spit in your face, and you're not going to let a guy choke you.
"You're not going to let a guy have (his) way with your kids or your family or your wife. It's just how it is. I don't have to say anything to the ref. At that point, [Ihedigbo] crossed the line.''
Both players said they hadn't been informed of any fine. The league office said it reviews all potentially finable offenses and announces discipline on Fridays.
"I would be very surprised," Ihedigbo said when asked if he anticipates NFL punishment. "You can watch the tape at full speed. It was an altercation on the field. The refs dealt with it the correct way.
"He ripped my helmet off and threw it. Things happen out on the field, but I would never do anything outside the rules or be known as a dirty player. I play hard and play physical and play to the whistle."
Little was later penalized for taunting Ihedigbo in the second quarter when he gestured at him after a sideline catch.
In the locker room after the game, Ihedigbo questioned Little's mettle, saying the receiver thinks he's a tough guy.
"He's far from tough," Little said. "I'm pretty sure we'll play again and if he feels I'm not tough, he knows where to find me.''
Elaborating Wednesday on his opinion about Little, Ihedigbo said the wide receiver was behaving out of his normal character.
"That's why I made the comment I did after the game," Ihedigbo said. "I've played against the guy before and he's never been this way. For you to try to approach and change your mentality of the player that you are to try to prove something to me there's no point in doing that.
"Just be who you are. Your job is to make plays and my job is to stop you from doing that. Be who you are on the field.
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