Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis says talk of him being a dirty player after his illegal hit on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams on Dec. 17 has been "very unfair."

Davis was suspended for one game for targeting a defenseless player in his second penalty from the NFL for an illegal hit. He had not spoken publicly about the hit that kept him out of Sunday's victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which the Panthers (11-4) clinched a playoff spot.

"It's very unfair," Davis said Thursday of the criticism. "I've seen a lot of stuff that's being said. Obviously, people are going to form their own opinions based on what they saw. At the end of the day, I know for 13 years I've played the game the right way. I can rest easy on it."

The 2014 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year was fined $48,620 for a hit on Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries earlier this season.

The criticism intensified on social media after Adams tweeted that Davis was "head hunting" when he led with the helmet on a blindside hit.

Adams suffered a concussion on the third-quarter play after an interception by safety Colin Jones. He missed the next week's game against the Minnesota Vikings and wasn't allowed to talk to reporters while in the protocol.