Ravens’ O-linemen say Lions’ D-linemen are tough, not dirty

AP

Before the Lions played the Packers, Green Bay offensive lineman Josh Sitton made headlines by calling Detroit’s defensive linemen “scumbags” and “dirtbags” who were coached by a “dick” who encouraged his players to play dirty. As the Ravens prepare to play the Lions, Baltimore’s offensive linemen are taking a different approach.

Ravens offensive linemen A.Q. Shipley and Gino Gradkowski both told the team’s website that they respect the way the Lions’ defensive linemen approach the game. In Shipley’s opinion, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, labeled as dirty by many, is actually exactly the kind of tough, physical player a lineman should be.

I love the way he plays,” Shipley said of Suh. “He plays hard and he plays passionate. You can’t fault a guy for doing that. He goes hard every play, and if he gets called for a penalty, I don’t think he’s worried about it. You’ve got to respect that about him.”

Gradkowski said that from his tape study, he expects to have his hands full on Monday night in Detroit, not because the Lions are dirty but because they go hard on every play.

“I think they just play hard,” Gradkowski said. “Sometimes it can be misconstrued as dirty. But it’s hard to say because I don’t know him personally and I haven’t faced him yet.”

In a week when Ravens coach John Harbaugh admonished safety Matt Elam for referring to Lions receiver Calvin Johnson as old, Harbaugh will surely be pleased that his offensive linemen aren’t giving the Lions any more bulletin board material.