Sapp-Arrington exchange prompts NFL warning
The NFL on Thursday told the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Redskins that no pregame hostilities will be tolerated when the two teams meet Sunday.
Specifically, the NFL reminded them that it is not permissible to run through opponents' formations during pregame stretching. Sapp has been known for doing that, including some fancy stepping through Colts' players before Monday night's game against Indianapolis.
"It will result in a 15-yard penalty," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
The penalty would be assessed on the opening kickoff. If a fight breaks out before the game, the participants will be subject to ejection.
The warning comes a day after Arrington called Sapp's pregame actions disrespectful and threatened to retaliate if Sapp did the same against the Redskins.
"I'm expecting for Warren Sapp to cause me to grab him -- because he's going to try to run through our lineup in pregame," Arrington said Wednesday. "You never let a man run through your stretching line."
Sapp responded by calling Arrington "Mr. Can't Get Right."
"Tell him don't be looking for me -- because I'm easily found," Sapp said.
The NFL, reacting to taunting incidents in previous seasons, placed a new emphasis on pregame behavior this year. Teams were alerted in a video presentation during preseason, and game officials are now required to take the field 50 minutes before the opening kickoff. No pregame penalties have been called since the new guidelines went into effect.
Arrington didn't answer Sapp's "Can't Get Right" jab on Thursday, telling reporters "I've already said what needs to be said," but other Redskins weighed in on Sapp's reputation for pregame intrusions.
"It is real disrespectful," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "Then you're doing it in our house? Naw, he won't do that."
Coach Steve Spurrier called the Arrington-Sapp trash talk "just a little conversation."
"It's OK in pro football," Spurrier said. "In college, you shouldn't do that. Our game is a little bit different. There's more freedom of speech."
Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said that general manager Rich McKay received the notification from the league, but Gruden hadn't read it.
"League policy is what it is," Gruden said. "Obviously, this is an issue that's important to the league and they're going to make it well known to us, and we'll do everything we can to enforce it."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index