Shell against suspension, says Stevens acted first
|The NFL is carefully weighing whether to suspend Oakland's Tyler Brayton after he was ejected late in Monday night's game. John Clayton has analysis in his nightly Quick Hits blog. Story.|
Shell just hopes the punishment will be a fine, not a suspension, because he said videotape showed that Brayton was only reacting to a kick from Stevens.
"Tyler was reacting to someone trying to kick him in the groin area," Shell said Tuesday. "So there was a reaction to that. Sometimes when there's pushing and shoving, you might not react. But when that happens, guys will react and he did. There will be something. What it is, I don't know. Could be a fine. Hopefully that's all it will be. Then we'll go from there."
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren disagreed with Shell's interpretation of the tape, saying Stevens' foot got extended as he tried to disengage from Brayton.
"It wasn't anything close to resembling what actually occurred, afterward ...," Holmgren said, comparing what Stevens did to Brayton's reaction. "If you look at the film, I think it's pretty clear that's not what happened."
Shell, who heard player appeals on fines and suspensions for on-field conduct during his time in the NFL office, gave the Raiders' side of the story to the league earlier Tuesday.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league was looking into the play and could have a decision on further punishment as soon as Wednesday.
Shell said he hopes that Stevens gets the same punishment that Brayton does.
"It should because he initiated it and Tyler reacted," Shell said. "You tell your guys not to react to things like that, but in that situation you understand."
The play in question happened in the final minutes of Oakland's 16-0 loss to Seattle on Monday night. Brayton and Stevens were pushing and grabbing at each other's shoulders away from a 4-yard run by Mack Strong with 1:54 remaining in the game.
Shell said a replay showed that Stevens tried to kick Brayton. Brayton then responded by raising his right knee onto the upper inside half of Stevens' left thigh while an official watched just yards away. Brayton got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and was ejected.
Brayton admitted after the game that he made a mistake and shouldn't have let his emotions get the best of him. But he didn't accuse Stevens of acting first.
Stevens said he did nothing to antagonize Brayton and said it was just the reaction of a player frustrated by the loss.
Raiders safety Stuart Schweigert, who drew a taunting foul from Stevens earlier in the game, called the tight end a dirty player and said Brayton would never have done what he did without provocation.
"He's not going to do that for no reason," Schweigert said. "He's not going to do it out of frustration. If a guy's doing that and talking stuff, every man has their limit. Sometimes things got to give, and last night it gave for Tyler. So I mean, that stuff happens."
Brayton's infraction was Oakland's third unsportsmanlike penalty in the game, with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan getting one in the first quarter for arguing with an official and defensive lineman Terdell Sands getting called for barking out signals while the Seahawks were attempting an extra point.
But Shell took issue with critics who said Brayton's reaction was a sign that the Raiders had lost their composure.
"That's unfair," Shell said. "It's not losing your composure. Tyler has great character. That's uncharacteristic of him. He doesn't do that. If you look at his track record in the league office in terms of being fined for things I think he's only been fined once, which was for grabbing a face mask, which is normal when you're trying to tackle somebody."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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