Detroit Lions defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson doesn’t feel he did anything wrong when he body-slammed Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott last December.
Robinson, a Fort Worth Arlington Heights product, hasn’t reached out to Elliott and sees no reason to apologize for his physical tackle that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty during the Cowboys’ 42-21 victory in Week 16.
“Nah, man. I’ve never been friends with Zeke, so I haven’t talked to him,” said Robinson, attending Sunday’s NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway.
“But I’m cool with [Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker, Elliott’s college teammate]. But I don’t really talk to Zeke.
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“It’s within the game. I didn’t do anything illegal. It is what it is.”
The play happened in the third quarter when Robinson wrapped Elliott up on a run up the middle and body-slammed him to the turf. Robinson drew a 15-yard penalty on it, but wasn’t fined by the NFL.
Elliott wasn’t happy about the play afterward, saying Robinson “was being dirty all game.”
“I think he was a little salty from that Sugar Bowl win we got against him in New Orleans two years ago,” Elliott said afterward.
Elliott was referring to when his Ohio State Buckeyes beat Robinson’s Alabama Crimson Tide, 42-35, in 2015 to advance to the national championship game.
But Robinson brushed off Elliott’s comments.
“It’s football. You’re going to get tackled,” Robinson said. “You’re going to get tackled the way you don’t want to get tackled. Anytime a person kind of does something to pick you up and try to slam you or whatever, I guess you think it’s disrespectful or dirty or whatnot.
“But I think it’s part of the game as long as I’m not trying to break your neck. I pride myself on being physical.”
Robinson mentioned fellow NFL defensive linemen such as Haloti Ngata and Ndamukong Suh who play with a similar physical edge that he mimics.
Robinson finished his rookie season with the Lions recording two sacks in 16 games, including five starts. The former second-round pick out of Alabama is expecting to take bigger strides in his sophomore season.
“I think it’s going to be a great year for me,” Robinson said. “I’ve got high expectations for myself – really high. I feel like I’ve prepared myself and am ready to become the player that the Lions need me to become with the team.”