Los Angeles Chargers strong safety Derwin James Jr. insisted to reporters that he's not a dirty player in light of his Dec. 26 ejection for unnecessary roughness against the Indianapolis Colts after his helmet-to-helmet hit on wide receiver Ashton Dulin.
"I'm not a dirty player," James said, per ESPN's Lindsey Thiry. "If you look at how I play every week, I'm not out to hurt nobody. I don't play the game that way. I wasn't taught the game that way. I'm trying to play fast and aggressive for my team and make a play."
The play happened in the second quarter of the Chargers' 20-3 win.
James, who had been flagged for a face mask two plays earlier on wide receiver Michael Pittman, charged into Dulin to break up a pass from quarterback Nick Foles.
"I was kind of trying to line him up and turn my shoulder in that moment, and it was happening so fast that I ended up catching a little bit of his shoulder with my face," James said.
The former Florida State star said that the "flag was OK" but that he was "surprised" by the ejection.
A source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler (h/t Thiry) that the NFL considered a suspension for James but decided against that call. He was fined $25,462.
Dulin suffered a concussion and missed the Colts' 38-10 loss to the New York Giants last Sunday. He did not practice on Wednesday.
James missed his team's 31-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday with a concussion. He's been listed as a full practice participant on Wednesday and Thursday in advance of the team's Sunday game against the Denver Broncos.