BEREA, Ohio — Browns wide receiver Greg Little accused Ravens safety James Ihedigbo of choking him during a pileup in Cleveland’s 24-18 win Sunday.
After a running play in the first quarter, Little found himself on his back at the bottom of a stack of players. He said Ihedigbo, who was on top of him, put his hands around his neck and choked him.
Little was able to free himself from Ihedigbo’s grasp, popped to his feet and then flung the Baltimore player’s helmet, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
“I know the ref was saying, ‘Let go of his facemask,’ but he was choking me, so I’m not,” Little said. “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. I don’t have to say anything to the ref.
“At that point, he’s crossed the line.”
Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Maryland at the Ravens practice facility, Ihedigbo denied the charge.
“I would never personally cross a line or play outside the rules in any manner,” the safety insisted. “I have my hand on his chest. … . I mean, 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.”
Ihedigbo added, “To sit back here and say now that all this other stuff happened and it’s Wednesday and the game was played on Sunday is kind of ridiculous to me. So, it definitely looks to me — I’m not a dirty player by any means — but it looks to me like he knows that he lost his cool and doesn’t want the league to take it out on him and fine him for throwing my helmet, so this is what kind of has come of it.”
Little, who was later penalized for taunting Ihedigbo, said he doesn’t regret throwing the helmet and would do it again.
“If you’re going to take the game of football to where he took it to, I’ll meet you there,” Little said.
The Little-Ihedigbo altercation was the second major incident between the Browns and Ravens this season. In Week 2, Browns nose tackle Phil Taylor accused Ravens running back Ray Rice of spitting in his face.
Little insists he didn’t yank Ihedigbo’s helmet off.
“I was pushing him off of me and it popped off,” Little explained. “The refs were pulling him off me and him still trying to choke me and it popped off.”
NFL spokesman Corry Rush said all plays are reviewed, and if there is any discipline it will come later this week.
Little said if he gets fined, he hopes Ihedigbo does, too. Ihedigbo, however, does not expect to hear from the league.
“I’d be very surprised,” he said. “You can watch the tape at full speed. There was an altercation on the field. The refs dealt with it on the field the correct way. He ripped my helmet off and threw it. You know, things happen out on the field, but I never do anything personally outside the rules.”
Following the game, Ihedigbo took a verbal swipe at Little.
“He’s just trying to be a tough guy,” Ihedigbo said after the Browns ended their 11-game losing streak to Baltimore. “Some guys that aren’t tough try to prove that they are tough.”
Little smirked when he was told about the comment.
“I’m going to hold back on what I really want to say,” Little said. “I’m pretty sure we’ll play again and if he feels like I’m not tough he knows where to find me.
“He’s far from tough. Believe it.”