"As I read most of the Eagles' [players] quotes, I thought they understood the play – one or two of them didn't understand the play," John Harbaugh said. "But when you start popping off about somebody's character, you've crossed the line."
A controversial figure even in the heart of the preseason, Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs smiled as he suggested who was really to blame for this week's firestorm surrounding his low hit on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford.
The tackle brought a 15-yard penalty against the Ravens, shots at Suggs' character from Eagles players and several days of headlines about the incident written by Philadelphia, Baltimore and national media.
"If we've got anyone to blame, it's our own: [general manager] Ozzie Newsome," Suggs said. "He's on the competition committee. He kind of helped put the rules [protecting quarterbacks] in, so we'll probably have to talk to Ozzie about that."
Suggs said he's talked to Newsome about the rule, and Newsome has told him "quarterbacks keep a lot of people employed, so we've got to protect him.
"Those guys get a lot of our sponsors," Suggs said. "A lot of those guys are good-looking guys. You don't want to damage them too much. It's the most valuable position on the field."
Suggs didn't gloat in the vindication that came days after the game, when the NFL's vice president of officiating, Dean Blandino, said the call was wrong and that Bradford was not a passer at that point in the zone-read running play. Suggs had said as much during and after the game.
He also didn't take offense at Peters saying the play was a "cheap shot," or that he was a "dirty" player, something coach John Harbaugh characterized Monday as an unnecessary dig at Suggs' character.
"What do you expect?" Suggs said. "Nobody wants to see their quarterback get hit, but I think if people had a prior understanding of the read-option, I think they wouldn't be as frustrated."
All told, it's another city where Suggs might be persona non grata going forward. He says he's come to embrace being a villain.
"I've always been like that, I ain't going to lie," Suggs said. "You're naturally the villain when you go in an opponent's stadium anyway, so you might as well not shy away from it. You just bask in it and enjoy it."
Said Harbaugh: "You want to be the guy they don't like to play against, so to me, that's a great compliment. You're not trying to make friends with your opponents and I'm quite sure that Terrell Suggs is very highly respected around the league by players and by the fans."