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Wednesday, November 06, 2013 9:27 PM

Browns’ Little says he was choked by Ravens player

Associated Press

 

BEREA — 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 claimed 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.”

Little’s comments came after Ihedigbo spoke to reporters at the team’s training complex in Maryland on Wednesday and he was not asked about the incident.

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 added.

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 reported 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.

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 added. “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.”

John Moffitt walks away from NFL, $1 million

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — John Moffitt wasn’t unhappy with a lack of playing time in Denver. He quit the NFL because he’d lost his love for the game and was tired of risking his health.

The third-year guard from Wisconsin called the Broncos from his home in Seattle this week to notify them he wouldn’t be returning to the team following its bye.

Then he announced on Twitter that he was calling it a career, saying, “Football was fun but my head hurts-haha kidding roger goodell. I’m on to new things, thanks to everyone along the way!!!”

The Broncos put him on their reserve/left team list on Tuesday when they activated center J.D. Walton from the physically unable to perform list.

They have five days to formally release Moffitt, who left more than $1 million on the table, including about $312,500 for the remainder of this season and $752,500 in non-guaranteed salary in 2014.

Moffitt, who signed a 4-year contract for nearly $3 million after Seattle made him the 75th overall draft pick in 2011, said he knows teammates and fans don’t understand how he could forgo the fame and fortune of pro football.

“I just really thought about it and decided I’m not happy. I’m not happy at all,” Moffitt told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Seattle. “And I think it’s really madness to risk your body, risk your well-being and risk your happiness for money.

“Everybody, they just don’t get it and they think it’s crazy. But I think what I was doing is crazy.”

He said he didn’t want to see things through this season for the shot at a Super Bowl.

“I don’t care about the Super Bowl. I don’t,” Moffitt insisted. “I used to. I mean, anytime I played this game, I gave my heart to it and I’m a person that does thing with his heart. … I don’t need the Super Bowl experience. I played in great stadiums and I played against great players. And I had that experience and it’s enough.”

The Broncos acquired Moffitt on Aug. 20 from the Seahawks after he’d lost out on one of two starting guard spots in Seattle during training camp. He played in two games for the Broncos (7-1).

Moffitt, 27, made about $1.8 million before taxes in his 2½ seasons in the NFL.

“I’ve saved enough. It’s not like I’m sitting here and I’m a millionaire,” he continued. “That’s what I kind of realized. I’m sitting here and I got to this point and I was like, what is the number that you need? How much do you really need? What do you want in life? And I decided that I don’t really need to be a millionaire.

“I just want to be happy. And I find that people that have the least in life are sometimes the happiest. And I don’t have the least in life. I have enough in life. And I won’t sacrifice my health for that.”

Moffitt stressed that he’s not passing judgment on his former colleagues, saying, “This is all my personal stuff and I respect this game and I respect the men in this game.”

Although Moffitt never had a history of concussions, he acknowledged all the blows he sustained in practices and games concerned him.

Moffitt majored in sociology at Wisconsin and said his world view was really shaped over the last couple of years when he began studying the writings of the Dalai Lama and Noam Chomsky.

Now that he’s out from behind the NFL shield, Moffitt said he’s looking forward to speaking his mind on the radio and in podcasts he’s going to produce, adding he has plenty of opinions to share on everything from philosophy to politics, although he has less to say about sports.

He said he also wants to go on a diet now that he doesn’t have to maintain his 319-pound physique.

Moffitt said the timing of his decision had nothing to do with Walton being activated from the reserve/PUP list, although “I’m glad it worked out like that,” adding he felt bad his decision coincided with coach John Fox’s heart operation.

He doesn’t regret playing football, either.

“Obviously, I wish things worked out better in Seattle. I wish I played more there, but I loved college football. I loved being in Seattle playing football. It wasn’t always the easiest, but I live here now and I’m thankful,” he said. “I look back and I’m thankful for the whole experience. That’s enough for me.”

Moffitt said he wants to spend more time with his parents in Connecticut and with his girlfriend and her 5-year-old daughter in Seattle. He said his father is “my best friend and I never get to see him.”

Moffitt added he’ll miss playing in games and goofing around with the guys but he’s glad the rest of his NFL life is over; he is also glad to leave the league on his terms.

Leadership vacuum to blame in Dolphins case?

DAVIE, Fla. — A leadership vacuum may have contributed to the troubled relationship between Miami Dolphins offensive linemen Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, which has left both players sidelined and the team in turmoil.

The ongoing saga has raised questions about whether coach Joe Philbin and his staff were negligent in allowing issues between Martin and Incognito to fester. Current and ex-players around the NFL say the situation reflects a lack of leadership because teammates of Martin and Incognito didn’t intervene.

NFL officials are trying to determine who knew what when, and whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin. A second-year tackle from Stanford, Martin left the team last week and is with his family in California to undergo counseling for emotional issues. Incognito has been suspended indefinitely.

The team built by Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland has undergone heavy roster turnover after losing records each of the past four years. Of the 53 players on the squad, 20 are new to Miami this season.

“That’s the one thing I’ve heard from every single former player … there’s a lack of leadership,” said Jimmy Cefalo, a former Dolphins receiver and now their play-by-play announcer. “They might step in with Richie and say, ‘Look, this has got to change.’”

The Dolphins’ oldest player, 34-year-old John Denney, is a long snapper who sees little action. The second-oldest, 34-year-old Bryant McKinnie, has been with the team less than three weeks. The third-oldest, 31-year-old Tyson Clabo, joined the Dolphins this year.

In 2012, the team’s player leadership council included Reggie Bush, Karlos Dansby and Jake Long, all of whom left after last season. Their replacements were second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, newcomer Dannell Ellerbe — and Incognito.

Incognito’s harassment of Martin included text messages that were racist and threatening, two people familiar with the situation have told The Associated Press. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the Dolphins and NFL haven’t disclosed the nature of the misconduct that led to Incognito’s suspension.

An assertive veteran might have prevented any problems from escalating, said former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson, now an analyst with NFL Network.

“In every locker room there are jerks; we all have them,” Tomlinson said. “But at the same time, there are always guys that can go and talk to that jerk and say, ‘You’re going overboard.’ My problem is Miami doesn’t have that guy. …

“If you’re a player in that locker room, there has to be someone there to be able to step up and help that guy. You know the personnel of the guys in your locker room a lot of times — the leaders do — and if a guy can’t defend himself and isn’t capable of standing up for himself, it is up to the guys in that locker room to say, ‘Hey man, let’s not go there’ or ‘You’re going too far.’”

Also under scrutiny is the role of offensive line coach Jim Turner, a former Marine Corps infantry officer who is in his first NFL job. It was his job to groom Martin, a second-round draft choice from Stanford who won a starting job as a rookie last year but developed a reputation for lacking toughness.

The Dolphins this week canceled a scheduled interview session with Turner.

 

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