Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
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METAIRIE, La. ― Sean Payton’s voice remained calm, no quiver or emotion – good or bad – noticed.
Dirty? His Saints?
“I actually haven’t seen any of that,” Payton said Tuesday, two days after Vikings running back Adrian Peterson claimed the Saints were and a little more after Titans receiver Nate Washington did the same.
“I think more than ever, the officials nowadays are doing a great job of controlling games and monitoring hits,” Payton went on. “Roman (Harper) got called on a penalty that was one that could have gone either way. So, I really don’t pay attention to any of that.”
Harper’s indiscretions this season likely have aided in the belief that the Saints are stepping over the edge on defense.
He has been fined for three times for hits, including knocking Carolina’s Steve Smith to the ground after the receiver entered the end zone in Week 5.
Washington spoke up after the Saints’ 22-17 win in Nashville, Tenn., when Harper was flagged not only for a helmet-to-helmet hit on the quarterback and a grabbing of the facemask to throw a receiver down.
This past week, it was Peterson making the accusation, charging Saints cornerback Jabari Greer with twisting his previously injured left ankle with a little extra gusto.
“A guy like Adrian Peterson, he’s tough enough to tackle,” Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said. “He had a high ankle sprain, but this guy is so elusive, getting him around the ankle is a good thing. It’s unfortunate that he thought we were aiming for his ankles. It’s just that he’s that good of a talent. You don’t get the easy flush shot on him.”
On 690-AM Tuesday morning, Greer explained his perceived actions, saying Peterson is a hard runner who is hard to tackle, adding that he wasn’t trying to “do anything malicious.”
But Greer said he thought they had come to an agreement that everything was OK.
“I talked to him. I didn’t apologize, but I told him, ‘You know what, man, I was just trying to get you down and it’s the game of football,’ ” Greer said. “I thought that we had an understanding. We came and we talked. We had a little pride session before going back to the huddle. He kind of got in my face and I kind of got in his face. And that was fun. I thought we had an understanding going back to the huddle.
“And then I find out that he said it again. I thought we had squashed the beef. Then I find out the beef wasn’t squashed. It was open and it was stanking. I don’t know what to say about that.”