Source: NFL tells ref actions against Barnett 'over the line'

Updated: December 26, 2007, 8:45 PM ET
By Chris Mortensen | ESPN

Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Barnett will file a grievance against an NFL official for aggressively grabbing him around the neck and pulling him to the ground during Sunday's game against the Bears at Soldier Field, according to his agent.

Nick Barnett

Barnett

Meanwhile, league sources tell ESPN that the official in question, umpire Jim Quirk, has been told he went "over the line" in restraining Barnett. A source said that NFL officiating director Mike Pereira warned Quirk by telephone that he should refrain from similar techniques when trying to break up a potential skirmish. No disciplinary action will be taken against Quirk, a source said, but that won't appease Barnett.

"We're going to put our complaint in writing through a grievance, even if the league has warned the official," said Chuck Price, who represents Barnett. "This guy puts his arm around Nick's throat...he should get more than a warning. If Nick pushes [Quirk] to the ground just as a response, he'd be suspended and fined a couple of hundred grand."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy was critical of Quirk following the incident.

"I'll tell you what, I've never seen anything like that in all my years," McCarthy said. "I didn't see the whole thing but I thought the official was totally out of line the way he grabbed Nick around the neck and pulled him out of there.

"There was a lot going on throughout the game on both sides of the ball after the play was over. Their offensive line was getting after Nick a bunch down the stretch. And that goes on in these types of games. I didn't see all of it but I saw the end of it. I thought it was totally unprofessional. I thought it was totally out of hand."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello has said McCarthy would not be disciplined for his remarks.

Chris Mortensen covers the NFL for ESPN.

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