Kenny Vaccaro defends self on Twitter following Graham confrontation

Associated Press photo by GERALD HERBERT -- Rookie strong safety Kenny Vaccaro walks on the field during camp Tuesday in Metairie at the New Orleans Saints training facility. Show caption
Associated Press photo by GERALD HERBERT -- Rookie strong safety Kenny Vaccaro walks on the field during camp Tuesday in Metairie at the New Orleans Saints training facility.

Following a wave of media stories reporting that he tossed a football at tight end Jimmy Graham’s head after a tussle at training camp Tuesday, New Orleans Saints rookie Kenny Vaccaro got on his Twitter account Wednesday to clarify that he has never before been accused of being a “dirty player” and to deny he meant to throw the ball at Graham intentionally.

In a series of tweets published not long after Wednesday morning’s practice, the rookie safety wrote, in part: “In all my years of football I’ve never been 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.”

Vaccaro, a first-round draft pick, added he did not purposely throw a football at Graham or hit any of his teammates outside of a padded drill, noting that he has “the utmost respect” for his fellow Saints — especially the veterans who have helped maintain the organization’s legacy.

“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,” Vaccaro said.

Vaccaro and Graham briefly wrestled Tuesday when they came down with ball at the same time during one-on-one passing drills. He then apparently tossed the ball at Graham, who moved toward Vaccaro before safety Malcolm Jenkins intervened and broke things up.

Vaccaro had drawn attention with his aggressive play Sunday, the team’s first practice with full pads on, so the incident with Graham was widely reported. Vaccaro prefaced his tweets by saying he just wanted “to quickly address some of the stories coming out about my actions during camp.”