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Clay Matthews: I’m an awesome player, not a dirty player

Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Philadelphia Eagles

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09: Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after a sack against the Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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Earlier this week, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh called Packers linebacker Clay Matthews’ late hit on quarterback Colin Kaepernick a “cheap shot” and that Matthews would have to work on repairing his image as a “tough guy” for slapping 49ers tackle Joe Staley during an ensuing scuffle.

Matthews met the media on Thursday and got the expected questions about his thoughts regarding Harbaugh’s comments. Matthews avoided most of them by saying he only wanted to answer questions about this week’s game against Washington, but eventually broke down and gave a little bit more.

“I’m an awesome player, I’m not a dirty player,” Matthews said.

Matthews cited his “pretty good” resume when it came to league discipline to back up his belief and wouldn’t say whether he’d been fined by the league office, which confirms all the fines of the week on Friday. It would be a surprise if Matthews’ name wasn’t on the list, the hit was a flagrant foul whether Matthews is a dirty player or not, which would mark the third time in his career that he’s received a fine.

Watching Matthews smirk while delivering his retort will probably ruffle some feathers in San Francisco, although the lack of another regular season game between the two teams probably means things will remain at a low simmer until they meet again. If that happens to be in this year’s playoffs, there should be plenty of fireworks from both sides.