Wide receiver Michael Crabtree of the Oakland Raiders and cornerback Aqib Talib of the Denver Broncos were ejected in the first quarter of their Sunday game after a brawl took place near the bench area of the Broncos. Raiders guard Gabe Jackson was ejected as well due to contact with an official.
Coach Vance Joseph of the Broncos expressed dismay saying: “I don’t like it, and it’s unacceptable.” He also said: “We lose one of our best players because of a personal battle, and that’s a personal battle. This is about the Broncos, so it’s unacceptable. We can’t have it — it’s non-negotiable.”
During a 5-yard run, Crabtree managed to block Talib by running back Marshawn Lynch. Even after the play was over, Crabtree still continued to push Talib out of bounds. Talib then tugged Crabtree’s neck chain, just like he did during one of last season’s games. Crabtree and Talib exchanged shoves, which turned into punches later on.
A couple more players got in the brawl as Talib ultimately took hold of Crabtree’s helmet, dragging it away from the crowd, and he flung it in the direction of the stands.
Chris Harris Jr., cornerback of the Broncos, had exited the field before the fight. According to Harris, he was punched in the midsection by Crabtree the play before the brawl.
“[Crabtree] didn’t come to play football — we came to play football. He came to fight — we came to play football,” Harris exclaimed. The Bronco’s trainers assisted Harris as he stayed down after that play.
There were two meetings last season where Crabtree and Talib had instances when they were at the brink of a confrontation, including the time that Talib snatched Crabtree’s necklace off.
Talib was replaced by Bradley Roby in the starting defense of the Broncos.
According to Joseph: “Obviously losing one of our best players and playing a young guy [rookie Brendan Langley], that hurt us tonight.”