Raiders DE Tyler Brayton has apologized for losing his cool and striking Seattle TE Jerramy Stevens in the groin with a knee. "Ninety-nine times out of 100 I'm not going to react in that situation. First of all, I feel like I let a lot of people down. I embarrassed myself, my family, the Raiders organization, the entire NFL. For that, I apologize. I kind of allowed my personal frustrations and emotions get the best of me. My actions are inexcusable, provoked or unprovoked. I also apologize to Jerramy Stevens and the Seattle Seahawks. Doesn't matter what the situation was, I had no right to do that. To the NFL, I think the league's done a great job making this game what it is today, and that's a great game, and I apologize if I've done anything to tarnish the reputation that this league has worked so hard to achieve. Lastly, I just want to thank my friends, family and teammates that supported me. I really appreciate that, and that's about it."
Brayton then answered some questions:
Have you called the Hawks or Stevens, or have any intention to?
"No, I don't know the best way going about that. I'll have to talk to Mike [Taylor] about that, if it's writing a letter, email or what, I'm hoping this will kind of serve as a public apology and that he might get this."
Were you provoked?
"I feel like it was a situation where my own personal frustrations were at a place where I was a ticking time bomb, so to speak. It was just one little thing that set me over the edge and still there's no excuse for that. You've got to keep your self-control and your cool in all situations."
Did Stevens try to strike you first?
"Everything happened so fast. At that point, I was just so angry with everything and it was just like that one little thing set me off."
If this was a close game, would you have restrained yourself?
"No, absolutely, if it's a close game, you won't do anything to try and jeopardize the team. In my mindset, I was like, 'You know what? I'm frustrated, I'm getting real angry, we're out of the ballgame at this point, I'm going to go down swinging.' And, that was kind of what happened. It was like one little thing set me over the edge, so I was like, 'You know what? I just can't take it anymore.' "
Do you cringe every time you see the replay?
"You know, I've watched the tape. It is what it is. It's ugly from me end no matter what you look at it. Bigger man would have walked away and I'm disappointed in myself for that. But every time I look at the TV, I just cringe. That's not the type of player that I want to be."
Have you acted like this before?
"No, last time I got kicked out of a game, I was a sophomore in high school. I was cussing at the referee in Hermeson, Ore., and I thought I was big stuff when I was 16 years old. You couldn't tell me nothing, so there's a lesson learned there as well."
Have you heard from the league yet? (this was before fines were announced)
"No, I haven't heard from the league yet. I'm sure there will be a substantial fine. I saw on ESPN I'm not going to be suspended, and I'm happy for that because I like to play, that's what we get to do every weekend, even if it is for free."
Art Shell supported you all the way.
"I appreciate that tremendously. I personally at first didn't see the press conference. One of my friends who plays for another team called me. He said, 'Man, that was cool. Your coach had your back.' Then I saw the interview later that evening, and it was cool and greatly appreciated, by Coach Shell. I'm glad he recognizes what type of player I am and what type of player I want to be. I really appreciate that."
Were you sweating a suspension on this one?
"Absolutely. The first thing I did was go in the locker room and turn on the TV in there. All I was listening to was Tony Kornheiser and Joe Theisman talking about, they were comparing this to Albert Haynesworth and stuff like that and I was like, 'Man, if that's the case, I might not be able to play next week.' So that was an immediate concern."
Did you have family at the game?
"Yeah, I think that was part of my personal frustration. My grandparents were there. They don't get to watch too many games. My grandpa's struggling to get around, so he only gets to come to one or two games every other year. It was my home turf. I'm not from Seattle, I'm from Washington, so my grandparents were at the game. I was really disappointed in myself. If that's the last game they ever see my play, I don't want them to remember it as that. I just hope I get a chance to atone someday when they get to come to another game."
What lessons can be gleaned from all this?
"I guess the lesson for me is you've got to keep your composure out there no matter what. Also, looking at other incidents, when I look at other incidents that happen, I can't be instantly judgmental of that person's character. I think that football is an unfair assessment of a man's character just because you're out there, you're in the heat of battle and you're trying to do whatever you can to win. Sometimes, you get a little carried away. It's tough that our character is judged based on what happens on the field, but we have to be held accountable. Like it or not, we're role models, so that accountability has to be there. At the same time, it's kind of tough."