NFL to review dustup between Patriots tackle Light, Dolphins LB Crowder

Updated: November 24, 2008, 6:48 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Matt Light and Channing Crowder left their face-shoving, hair-pulling, head-smacking tussle with big smiles.

The NFL may not be amused at their brief battle during the Patriots' win over the Dolphins on Sunday.

Gene Washington, the NFL's director of football operations, will review the incident this week for potential discipline, a routine procedure for on-field fights, league spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday.

It occurred after left tackle Light blocked linebacker Crowder, whose helmet fell off, on Stephen Gostkowski's 30-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter of New England's very physical 48-28 win at Miami.

"I had no idea what was going on," Gostkowski said. "I was just worried about them falling on my leg. I didn't want to get hurt from something like that."

Light did hit Gostkowski's leg after Miami's Matt Roth knocked down New England's Russ Hochstein, forcing Light backward and into the kicker. Light got up and he and Crowder pushed each other in the face. Light then grabbed Crowder's dreadlocks in his left hand and hit him three times on the head with his right.

Crowder broke free and ran away with a huge grin. Both received personal foul penalties and were ejected. As they walked off, Light smiled and Crowder raised his hands to elicit cheers from his hometown fans.

After reviewing the play, Roth said Monday he thought Crowder got a raw deal, "but I'm no ref. I watched the film and it's just one of those things that was unfortunate; wish it didn't happen."

The Dolphins have other problems as well.

A day after linebacker Joey Porter would not leave the field as Tony Sparano had instructed, the first-year coach said Monday he would be having a chat with the NFL sack leader -- but remained mum on the details.

"I'll talk to Joey," Sparano said. "I'll talk to him individually and that'll be between me and him."

It won't be Sparano's only tough conversation this week about composure.

"I'm going to talk to a lot of guys," Sparano said. "Not just Joey."

The Dolphins (6-5) want to keep their improbable playoffs hopes alive with a win against St. Louis (2-9) on Sunday. But after unraveling during their 48-28 loss to New England, Sparano said his players might need a reminder about keeping their emotions in check.

New England Patriots Miami Dolphins

NFL.com Video

Watch highlights from the New England Patriots 48-28 win over the Miami Dolphins.

"These guys are competitors," Sparano said. "At the same time, there's a right and a wrong way to do things. We have a standard here right now that we're trying to put in place. And for 10 solid games we've done that. Yesterday, we kind of got off the path a little bit for about eight minutes and that's not good enough. It has to be addressed."

The Patriots (7-4) play a team that's probably more physical than the Dolphins when they are home against the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) on Sunday. A suspension might keep Light out of that, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday he won't prepare his team any differently.

"We have seen players get hurt on the first play of the game, in the first quarter," he said, "so whichever guys go to the game, they have to be ready to play -- starters, backups. ... It is the same every week."

Patriots players were given Monday off, and Light was not available to comment. Crowder didn't discuss the incident Monday.

Belichick said he had nothing to add to his comments of Sunday.

"We don't need to get any fouls or penalties, or get into a verbal battle back and forth after the game," he said then. "We'll say what we have to say [with their play] on the field."

After Sunday's game, Dolphins nose tackle Jason Ferguson and defensive end Vonnie Holliday apologized, and Sparano said the Dolphins showed a lack of poise.

"You get two competitive teams together like that and things are going to happen," running back Patrick Cobbs said. "You've just got to be able to contain it a little better than we did. It was a really big game for us, there was a lot of emotion running through it and it just got carried away."

The often loquacious Porter sat quietly in the locker room at the Dolphins' training facility Monday, playing a game of dominos with a teammate. He left without speaking to the media.

"We've got to just get over this game and put it behind us and go after this St. Louis team," linebacker Roth said. "I think we're mature enough. It's a loss, its not a make-or-break. We've still got five games and this is a big game coming up."

The Dolphins will be facing the Rams without wide receiver Greg Camarillo, who left Sunday's game with a knee injury in the second half. Sparano said Camarillo, who was having a breakout year with the Dolphins, will miss the rest of the season. He was also not sure of tackle Jake Long's status. Long, the No. 1 overall choice in the draft last April, left Sunday's game with an ankle injury but did return.

"We have five games left," Sparano said. "To the best of my knowledge, nobody's told us that we don't have a chance right now. The way our division is, anything can happen, as we know. So we're going to work our tails off right now to get better in these next five weeks."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE NFL HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM