The Seahawks made TE Jerramy Stevens off-limits to reporters today. I think they figured he had nothing to gain from continuing to talk about an incident in which, on the surface, he appeared to be the victim (if not an innocent one). Raiders DE Tyler Brayton took the high road today when he apologized for kneeing Stevens in the groin Monday night. The big debate, really, is whether Stevens triggered the incident by trying to strike Brayton in the groin first. None of the replays I saw suggested Stevens had acted in that manner. The league disagreed. So did the Raiders. And now Raiders DT Warren Sapp -- himself a paragon of upstanding play unless your name is Chad Clifton -- is taking aim at Stevens. Some pretty savage quotes are below, passed along from a friend who covers the Raiders.
Q: What happened with Brayton?
"He reacted like any of you would have reacted if you were out there in a situation with this punk. This dude has been a piece of (crap) since he got in this league and it's never going to change about him. I really don't understand what he was trying to get done but you don't do that. Then you could see from Mike Holmgren's reaction, he knew what it was. He never let him back in the game. When your own coach won't let you back in the game, he knows it, we know it. You're just a punk. You're just out there trying to get something started. He did the same thing with Schweigert when he dropped the ball. He jumped up and head-butted him. You can just look at this guy's track record, it's just what it is. Something's got to change about it but he's going to get his, guaranteed. This league has a great way of humbling you and he'll get his, no doubt about it."
Q: Tyler fined but not suspended, is that justification?
"Aww, I told him off that top that I didn't think he should be suspended at any point. Any fine that he's got going, I've got something on it for him."
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Q: Are you seeing more outrageous antics from players now?
"It's just a couple of them, just a couple. You can go down the line. We're all doing this for the love of the game and the good Lord gave us the ability to do it and, for the pride of your teammates and your peers. The one thing you don't want anybody to say about you is you're a cheapshot. But there are certain players, they think that's the way to play the game. That's the way they get an edge or cheapshot you or do something cheap to you. Between the lines, it's got to be fair, in between the whistles. That's all I ask for. Mano y mano. Until they make a man that runs off motor oil and gasoline, hey, you put your jock on just like I do, one leg at a time, so let's just play this thing. If you win today you're a better man today and I'll go on from that point. But all the cheap stuff? Come on. It's only a couple guys, though."
Q: Was Brayton provoked?
"Of course he was. It ain't something ... you've watched this man play around here since he's been in this league. He's a good guy, a great dude. He's a coach's dream, no doubt about it. The way he hustles in practice makes me pick up my game sometimes. I'm like, 'Hey, I need to get it going, Tyler's going like a bat out of hell.' And it is just what it is. He's exactly what you would want out of your football player. The other dude? You wouldn't want him on your ballclub. You wouldn't want to be around him."
Q: You don't see a growth of immaturity around the league?
"It's just a couple dudes, just a couple dudes. When you get in this game, it's a game that's been played 80-something years before you got in and it will be played 80-something years after. The thing that you want to do is enhance the game. You don't ever want to cheat the game by being a cheapshot or being a dirty player or a guy that nobody wants on their ballclub. That's not what it's about. It's about being efficient at your job. If you better than me, then whoop me. It's mano y mano, then whoop me. Be able to block me. All that extracurricular activity, it's just not warranted."
Q: You saw the Haynesworth incident?
"That was real egregious. But it's only a couple guys. You get 2-3 incidents like that a year. And it'll never happen again for another 2-3 years. But sometimes emotions and some different stuff take the best of you. I can see the Haynesworth thing. Maybe something went on that we don't know anything about. But I know with Tyler, it was that piece of (crap) that started it, hands down. And the league knew it. If that would have been me, I'm gone for four weeks. But I know how I am in certain situations. The young fella just reacted to it. But everybody knew what was going on."