OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- On the same day that the NFL cleared Terrell Suggs of any wrongdoing, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh vented about a couple of Philadelphia Eagles players who called out the linebacker for being a dirty player and taking a cheap shot on quarterback Sam Bradford.
"When you start popping off about somebody's character, you cross the line," Harbaugh said Monday. "That's not really something that we would respect. But most of their guys over there understood the play and understood [Suggs] was playing hard and trying to get stops."
Eagles left tackle Jason Peters described Suggs as a "dirty" player and said he was "pretty sure" Suggs planned the hit to Bradford's surgically repaired knees in Saturday night's preseason game.
The NFL's head of officiating Dean Blandino said Monday that Suggs' hit was a legal one and the officials erred in flagging him for roughing the passer.
Blandino explained that Bradford is not afforded special protection on a read-option play because he is a potential runner. Suggs therefore was within the rules when he hit Bradford, who handed the ball off to Darren Sproles.
"He played it exactly the way we were coaching him to play it," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh tried to convey that message to referee Jerome Boger and his crew after Suggs was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer. But Harbaugh, whose Ravens lost 40-17, appeared more understanding than upset when asked about the officials.
"There's rust there, too. It's part of the preseason," Harbaugh said. "They weren't any worse than we were. So, what am I going to say? He can look back at me and say, 'Coach, you're not doing so well yourself here.'"