Chargers' Derwin James Jr. Says He's 'Not a Dirty Player' After Hit on Ashton Dulin

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 6, 2023

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 04: Safety Derwin James Jr. #3 of the Los Angeles Chargers warms up before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
Steve Marcus/Getty Images

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.


Derwin James was ejected for unnecessary roughness after this hit on Ashton Dulin. <a href="https://t.co/qL7oqDurd4">pic.twitter.com/qL7oqDurd4</a>

Numerous analysts called James' hit "dirty" afterward, although some ex-NFL players didn't agree with the term. James gave his perspective on the play.

"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.