Kenny Vaccaro: I play within rules
New Orleans Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro took to Twitter on Wednesday amid reports of his physical play at training camp to emphasize that he's not a dirty player and that he didn't purposely throw a football at teammate Jimmy Graham's head.
He also said he'll continue to be physical in training camp unless the team tells him to take his game down a notch.
On Tuesday, Vaccaro wrestled the ball from Graham while the pair rolled on the ground after a simultaneous catch and then tossed the ball off the star tight end's head. He also collided with Pierre Thomas at full speed, flattening the veteran running back during 11-on-11 drills that were not intended to involve full tackling.
On Sunday, the first day the Saints wore full pads, Vaccaro and fullback Austin Johnson took a few swipes at each other, and Vaccaro also grabbed running back Travaris Cadet by the shoulder pads and threw him to the turf after a short catch.
On Tuesday, Vaccaro was unapologetic, saying, "I love football. I'm reckless." On Wednesday, he took a slightly different tone in a series of tweets, saying he would remain aggressive but that he follows the rules.
Just want to quickly address some of the stories coming out about my actions during camp. In all my years of football I've never been...— Kenny Dwayne Vaccaro (@KennyVaccaro4) July 31, 2013
...ejected from a game or been called a dirty player. I've always taken pride in playing aggressively but within the confines of the rules.— Kenny Dwayne Vaccaro (@KennyVaccaro4) July 31, 2013
In five subsequent tweets, Vaccaro continued his statement.
"I'm blessed to play the sport I love & have been given the opportunity to make a living doing so. I play every snap, whether it be practice or a game, like it could be my last. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all my teammates, especially the veterans that have helped maintain the Saints legacy and would never intentionally disrespect any of them," he wrote.
"I never purposely threw a football at Jimmy and or hit anyone outside of a padded drill. So until my coaches, teammates or my mother tells me to take it easy I will continue to leave it all out on the field."
On Tuesday, Graham responded to having the ball tossed off his head by turning and starting back toward Vaccaro before veteran free safety Malcolm Jenkins stepped between them.
Graham later said he and Vaccaro are fine. Of their tussle, he said, "I'm not worried about that," adding, "It was a first down," meaning Graham thought he'd established possession and was down before Vaccaro ripped the ball away.
When asked about Vaccaro throwing Cadet to the turf Sunday, coach Sean Payton said the Saints don't want to see players being thrown to the ground in practices that do not involve full tackling and that when rookies are trying to make an impression, they need to do it "the right way."
However, Vaccaro said Payton has yet to scold him directly.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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