Anthony Barr insisted that his hit on Aaron Rodgers which left the Green Bay Packers quarterback with a broken collarbone was not illegal.
Rodgers may miss the rest of the season after the Minnesota Vikings linebacker drove him into the U.S. Bank Stadium turf during the first period of last Sunday's game.
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy described the hit as "illegal" and "unnecessary", although Barr's coach Mike Zimmer defended his player, who pressed his own case on Friday.
"By no means was I trying to take out Aaron Rodgers," Barr said in quotes reported by Pioneer Press. "He's one of, if not the best player in this league. I'm not a dirty player.
"I don't play dirty. We don't preach that around here. It's unfortunate, the injury. I hate to see anybody get hurt.
"I think it's a dirty play in some people's eyes because of the injury. I think if he gets up we're not having this conversation. It's unfortunate it happened. I know I think I hit Jameis [Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB] similar early in the season and nobody mentioned it.
"I think if it happened to my QB I probably would say it was illegal and the same thing just because you're trying to...defend your guy and you don't want to see your player get injured. So that's his [McCarthy's] opinion and you got to respect that."