BEREA — Receiver Greg Little isn’t remorseful about his pair of 15-yard penalties Sunday in a win over the Baltimore Ravens. He justified his actions by claiming self-defense.
“He was choking me,” Little said Wednesday, referring to Ravens safety James Ihedigbo. “There’s a thin line between football and just morals, and I’m not going to let a guy spit in my face, choke me, (disrespect) my family or anything like that. It’s just how it is.”
Ihedigbo denied the choking accusation.
“It’s a divisional game, things get physical and get rowdy,” he told reporters in Baltimore. “I would never personally cross the lines or play outside the rules in any manner.
“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. 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.”
Little and Ihedigbo tangled multiple times. The first came in a swarm of people after Little had blocked him on a run play.
They went to the ground with Ihedigbo on top, his hands momentarily on Little’s neck. Little didn’t let go of Ihedigbo’s face mask, the helmet came off and Little rolled it like a bowling ball across the field, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Any regret about throwing the helmet?
“None,” Little said.
Even though the penalty killed a drive?
“When I’m on the football field, I like to play football,” he said. “And if you’re going to take the game of football to where he took it to, then I’ll meet you there.”
Coach Rob Chudzinski said he understood Little may have been provoked but he’s got to have better self-control. Teammates D’Qwell Jackson and Mitchell Schwartz echoed the opinion.
“Greg knows that he shouldn’t have thrown the helmet, but at the same time, as a man, you don’t want to be disrespected,” cornerback Joe Haden said.
“Chud just said just realize what position you’re putting your team in,” Little said. “You don’t want to have a big play and take it away. And I understand where he’s coming from as well.”
The NFL reviews all plays and confirms discipline each Friday. Little is likely to be fined for the unsportsmanlike helmet toss, and possibly for the 15-yard taunting penalty when he gestured “bring it on” toward Ihedigbo after making one of his career-high seven catches for 122 yards. Little appeared to miss with a punch before the taunt.
“It wasn’t like I flipped him the bird. It’s just football,” he said. “I guess the refs are trying to keep the game in control in that type of thing.”
Little said he hadn’t been fined and didn’t know if he would be. If he is, he feels Ihedigbo should be hit, too.
“If I’m fined, I feel like the fine should be reciprocated,” he said.
Little said he doesn’t know Ihedigbo, who said Little was out of character and trying to act tough.
“To try to change your mentality of the player that you are to try to prove something to me, there’s no point in doing that,” Ihedigbo said. “Just be who you are. Your job is to make plays and my job is to stop you from doing that.”
“He’s far from tough. Believe it,” Little said. “I’m going to hold back on what I really want to say. I’m pretty sure we’ll play again and if he feels like I’m not tough he knows where to find me.”
Obscured in the he said-he said has been Little’s best game of the year. He didn’t have any drops, made a couple of difficult catches and ran well after the catch.
“It just further affirms I am a player in this league that can make plays,” he said. “One thing Coach talks about is sustaining success. That’s really what I want to build on right now is having that game and trying to build on it with a lot more.”
Quarterback Jason Campbell was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week by the league. He tied a career high with three touchdown passes and completed 23-of-35 passes (65.7 percent) for 262 yards, no interceptions and a 116.6 passer rating. He overcame a rib injury sustained in the first quarter to lead the 24-18 victory that snapped an 11-game losing streak in the series.
Campbell also won the award in Week 15 in 2007 with Washington.
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said fullback Chris Ogbonnaya has been limited by sore ribs, and if he feels better after the bye his role could expand.
• Left tackle Joe Thomas, defensive ends Ahtyba Rubin and Desmond Bryant, linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, receiver Davone Bess and Ogbonnaya worked in the field house with trainers during practice.
• Running back Willis McGahee, linebacker Quentin Groves and tight ends MarQueis Gray and Keavon Milton didn’t practice.
• The players are off until Monday.
• Elias Sports Bureau changed Haloti Ngata’s first-quarter sack of Campbell to a run for no yards. Campbell’s ribs were injured on the play.
Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.