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In response to Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson’s claims that the Ravens tried to hurt him back in the 2008 playoffs, Baltimore’s players and coaches issued their rebuttal Thursday.
The Ravens went on to victory, 13-10, but deny any ill intentions.
“Ain’t nobody trying to deliberately hurt nobody out here. We’re all athletes. We’re all in the same league. Nobody tried to hurt him. He can get that out of his head,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said.
“He’s just trying to get motivated,” said linebacker Jarret Johnson.
The Titans running back was racking up the yardage – 72 rushing yards, 28 receiving – in the divisional round showdown before he injured his ankle late in the first half.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata acknowledged the timing of the injury was beneficial for Baltimore.
“I’m happy he left the game, because he was on the verge of breaking off 200 yards against us,” said Ngata, days away from another matchup with the Titans. “He did really well in that first half, and I think it’s a good thing he went down, because he probably would have had more yards.
“I don’t even think we were playing dirty, I just think we were playing the way we usually do. … I had no idea what happened, I had no idea why he went out during that game. But hopefully, we can contain him better this time.”
The Ravens chalk it up to physical play and a reputation for toughness they have spent years cultivating. After all, football is a violent game.
“They’ve been playing a certain brand of football and defense here for a long, long time, so I don’t take offense to it,” Pagano said. “It’s just how we roll. It’s our brand of football. It’s straight up, it’s clean, it’s physical. We try to oppose our physical and mental will on people. There’s going to be some casualties. That’s just the way we play.”
Ngata believes that teams who accuse the Ravens of being dirty are simply sore from defeat.
“I think they’re just upset they lost, really,” Ngata said. “I have no idea. I have no reaction to it, I just think we’re going to go out and play Raven defense and if somebody’s complaining about it, we’re going to get fined or it’s just nothing to complain about. They’re just trying to make excuses, really.”