Fine, ejection threatened if antics continue

Updated: October 9, 2003, 8:10 PM ET
ESPN.com

The NFL is putting an end to Warren Sapp's pregame antics, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on Thursday.

The NFL notified Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manger Rich McKay on Thursday that Sapp is to cease running through opponents' pregame drills, as he did before Monday night's home game with the Indianapolis Colts, Mortensen reports.

Sapp's behavior provoked Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington to threaten retaliation against Sapp if Sapp repeats his antics before the two teams meet Sunday.

Arrington looked directly into the TV camera on Wednesday and delivered a sharp message to Sapp.

"Sapp," Arrington said, "I'm going to get you."

Sapp laughed after reading Arrington's comments.

"You tell Mr. Can't Get Right, I'll be there at 10:30 a.m. sharp, Eastern Standard Time. Tell him don't be looking for me because I'm easily found," Sapp said, making reference to the difficulty the Redskins had mastering the defense run by former coordinator Marvin Lewis last season.

The NFL told McKay, who is co-chairman of the competition committee, that Sapp would be subject to disciplinary action and that the Bucs would be assessed a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on the opening kickoff if Sapp continues to interrupt pregame drills, Mortensen reported.

The league also told McKay that if a fight broke out as a result of Sapp's actions, Sapp could be subject to immediate ejection for provocation.

"The league considers Sapp's action as provocative, promoting retaliation, and it's impermissible," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Mortensen.

Washington 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 hadn't read the notification.

"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."

Chris Mortensen provides reports for ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown," "Monday NFL Countdown," "SportsCenter" and ESPN Radio.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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