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, which had come off during the pileup, 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, the former UMass standout and one-time Patriot, denied the charge.
‘‘I would never personally cross a line or play outside the rules in any manner,’’ he 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.’’
Little, who was later penalized for taunting Ihedigbo, said he doesn’t regret throwing the helmet and would do it again.
Wade Phillips in charge
Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will be Houston’s interim head coach with Gary Kubiak out indefinitely after suffering a mini-stroke this weekend. Phillips, a former head coach for Dallas, took over after Kubiak was taken to the hospital and he ran Houston’s practice on Monday. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison likely will take over the play-calling duties. There is no timetable for the 52-year-old Kubiak’s return to the team. Houston, which has lost six straight games, plays at Arizona on Sunday . . . Team president Russ Brandon said Bills rookie starting quarterback EJ Manuel should be ready to return to play at Pittsburgh on Sunday. Brandon provided the update Wednesday during his weekly radio show. Manuel’s teammate, receiver Robert Woods, will probably miss the game with a sore left ankle, according to coach Doug Marrone . . . Bears QB Jay Cutler’s status for this week’s game against the Lions will likely come into clearer focus on Thursday as he recuperates from a torn left groin muscle.
Jonathan Vilma sent to IR
The Saints have moved linebacker Jonathan Vilma to injured reserve, ending his season — and possibly his career — only three days after he had returned for his first game of this season. Vilma began the season on short-term injured reserve because of an arthroscopic procedure in August on his left knee, which has troubled him through multiple surgeries over the past two-plus seasons. Vilma was activated Saturday and played 12 defensive snaps in a 26-20 loss to his former team. He was credited with one tackle . . . Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon suited up Wednesday, his first appearance since a foot injury in Week 2 sent him to the inactive list . . . Seahawks center Max Unger and defensive end Red Bryant did not participate in practice Wednesday as each went through the mandated concussion protocol after being injured last week against the Buccaneers . . . Titans safety Michael Griffin is back practicing fully for the Titans after snapping his streak of 103 consecutive games played last week. Griffin hurt his right quadriceps Oct. 20 in a loss to San Francisco, but not even the bye week could help him play in last week’s 28-21 win at St. Louis. That was the first game he has missed since being a first-round draft pick in 2007.
Tony Dorsett reveals health woes
Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe DeLamielleure, and former NFL All-Pro Leonard Marshall have been diagnosed as having signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition many scientists say is caused by head trauma and linked to depression and dementia, doctors told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” CTE is indicated by a buildup of tau, an abnormal protein that strangles brain cells in areas that control memory, emotions and other functions. Autopsies of more than 50 ex-NFL players, including Hall of Famer Mike Webster and perennial All-Pro Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, found such tau concentrations . . . Clarence ‘‘Ace’’ Parker, the oldest member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died in Portsmouth, Va. He was 101.