Steelers S Mike Mitchell receives unlikely support from Bengals star

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell has been battling the public perception that he’s a dirty player since being fined twice in 2015 for illegal hits, but he received support from an unlikely source on Thursday.

Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green came to Mitchell’s defense when asked about his rival in the Steelers secondary and he had a somewhat surprising response.

“I don’t feel he’s a dirty player, man,” Green said according to Jay Morrison of the Dayton Daily News. “He just plays with a lot of emotions.”

Green is a consummate professional, so it comes as little surprise that he wouldn’t call Mitchell out. However, to go as far as defend anyone on the Steelers roster, particularly Mitchell, is definitely unexpected.

The Bengals lost Green for a playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts because of a concussion stemming from a helmet-to-helmet hit from Mitchell during a regular-season matchup.

“It was a hit. It happens,” Green said. “I don’t think nothing dirty was about it. He plays very aggressive. When they had Ryan Clark, Ryan Clark played the same way. Come down and hit you. It’s what it is — football.”

Mitchell was fined $48,620 for a late-hit to the back of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith’s knee on Sunday. Mitchell will appeal the fine on the grounds that he was pushed into Smith by teammate Anthony Chickillo on the play.

The Steelers and Bengals will meet for their first of two regular-season contests on Sunday.

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