The NFL has suspended Broncos’ cornerback Aqib Talib for two games because of his fight Sunday with Oakland receiver Michael Crabtree.
Crabtree has also been suspended two games. Both players were ejected, as was Raiders guard Gabe Jackson for making contact with an official.
Talib is appealing in hopes he might have a chance of getting it reduced one game because Crabtree was the instigator of the fight.
Raiders Broncos fight pic.twitter.com/9vqhJ7HSjz— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) November 26, 2017
“I hope the league sees basically how it started and sees I didn’t come out there to fight and wrestle with him,’’ Talib said Monday afternoon before learning of his two-game punishment.
Talib is appealing 2-gm suspension, per source. Appealing is virtually automatic because decent chance fines reduced. Never judge a jury, especially in Goodell's court, but I would think Talib has a chance of getting suspension reduced by a game. Crabtree started it. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) November 28, 2017
Then again, Talib’s case won’t be helped by his multiple prior incidents of misconduct. He was suspended one game in 2015 for poking the eye of Indianapolis tight end Dwayne Allen. Talib was not suspended for brawling with Tennessee receiver Harry Douglas last year.
The league also investigated a shooting incident in the summer of 2016 in which Dallas police and the league determined Talib accidentally shot himself in the calf.
This is even Talib’s second incident with Crabtree. Talib snatched a gold chain off Crabtree’s neck in the 2016 regular-season finale. The next time the two adversaries met, the game was barely 3 minutes when Crabtree sucker punched Talib and Talib again pulled off Crabtree’s necklace, igniting a fierce brawl that began on the field of play, rolled into the sideline and wound up with both players taking swings at each other in the end zone.
NFL Vice President of Football Operations John Runyan wrote letters to both Crabtree and Talib explaining his punishment.
To Talib, Runyan wrote: "You deliberately ripped your opponent’s chain from his neck just as you did last year when you played against him. Then, when the two of you went to the ground after a subsequent play, you aggressively removed his helmet and threw it in his direction, endangering him and various sideline personnel in the near vicinity. Finally, once you were momentarily separated from your opponent, you again engaged him and threw a punch.”
To Crabtree, Runyan wrote: “First, you punched a Broncos opponent Chris Harris in the midsection, resulting in him being removed from the game. Then, on the subsequent play, you blocked a different Broncos opponent (Talib) into the sidelines beyond the yellow media border, well after the play was over. Your actions triggered a melee and endangered various sideline and League personnel, including one of our Game Officials who was injured trying to maintain control of the situation.”
As it stands now, Talib will miss the game Sunday at 4-7 Miami, and the following week December 10 against the 4-7 New York Jets at Mile High.
With Talib missing most of the game Sunday at Oakland, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr picked on his replacement, rookie cornerback Brendan Langley, for key completions in the Broncos’ 21-14 loss.
For all his troubles, Talib is one of the NFL's best cornerbacks. He was selected to the first-team All Pro team last year and in game 2 this year against the Dallas Cowboys, he recorded the 10th pick six of his career, the fourth most in NFL history and only two less than the all-time leader, Rod Woodson.
The Broncos have now lost two of their five cornerbacks in four days. No. 5 cornerback Lorenzo Doss was cut last Thursday because of his penchant for showing up late to meetings. And now Talib is suspended.
The three remaining cornerbacks on the Broncos’ roster are Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby and Langley. Marcus Rios, an undrafted rookie out of UCLA, has been on the Broncos’ practice squad since the season began.