Pat McManamon | ESPN.com
I think you draw the line of football and what’s right. 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.
” — Browns WR Greg Little, saying he was choked by the Ravens’ James Ihedigbo
“The picture is reality,” Little said of a screen shot circulating on the Internet that shows Ihedigbo with his hands on Little’s neck while Little is on the ground.
“You can’t argue with a stop sign, and you can’t portray in a picture something that it’s not.”
Little said being choked by another player “crossed the line” of what is acceptable.
“I think you draw the line of football and what’s right,” Little said. “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.”
Later Thursday, Ihedigbo denied that he choked Little.
“I would never personally cross the lines or play outside the rules in any manner,” he said. “You can freeze the clip so some surface looks like whatever. I have my hand on his chest. It is what it is. He ripped off my helmet and threw it. I guess he’s looking back on him losing his cool and saying what took place that didn’t take place. The refs would’ve seen it. Other players would’ve seen it. I would’ve been punished for the play as well.”
Little said he pushed back at Ihedigbo by pushing on his face mask. Eventually he shoved the helmet off Ihedigbo’s head and flung it toward the sideline, which drew a 15-yard penalty.
“I know the ref was saying let go of his face mask, but he was choking me,” Little said. “It’s a thin line between football and morals. I’m not gonna let a guy spit in my face, choke me, degrade my family or anything like that. It’s just how it is.”
Ihedigbo said he believes Little is trying to change the facts of the incident so that he won’t get fined for throwing a helmet.
“He lost his cool, and he threw my helmet,” Ihedigbo said. “Therefore the penalty was given on him. To sit back here and say now that all of this other stuff happened and it’s Wednesday and the game was played on Sunday is kind of ridiculous to me. I’m not a dirty player by any means, but it looks to me that he knows he lost his cool and doesn’t want the league to take it out on him and fining him for throwing my helmet. This is what has kind of come of it.”
Ihedigbo said he would be “very surprised” if he’s fined by the league.
“You can watch the tape in full speed,” he said. “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’d never do anything outside the rules. I play hard. I play physical. And I play to the whistle.”
Little said nothing to the officials about the choking.
“At that point, he’s crossed the line,” he said.
Little declined to say what he thinks of the Ravens safety but did respond to Ihedigbo’s postgame remarks that Little was “trying to be a tough guy. Some guys who aren’t tough try to prove they’re tough.”
“I”m pretty sure we’ll play again,” Little said, “and if he feels like I’m not tough, then he knows where to find me.”
ESPN.com Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.
- Covered Browns, Cleveland sports since 1998
- Previously worked at Fox Sports Ohio, AOL Fanhouse, Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com
- Cleveland native, proud father of two daughters