Cable denies punching Hanson

Updated: August 18, 2009, 10:42 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NAPA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable denied reports, which surfaced Monday, that he punched defensive assistant Randy Hanson in the jaw and caused injuries that required treatment at a hospital earlier this month.

According to AOL FanHouse, Cable hit Hanson on Aug. 5 for unknown reasons. A report filed with the Napa Police Department describes an unnamed 41-year-old assistant coach being treated at the Queen of the Valley Hospital for a jaw injury, which the victim alleges was caused by an unidentified member of the Raiders coaching staff.

But Cable told ESPN's Mark Schlereth later Monday that no punches were thrown.

That's backed up by what former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. Jeremiah's "reliable source" said that Hanson broke a facial bone when his cheek hit a cabinet in a team meeting room when Cable flipped him out of his chair.

Jeremiah also wrote on his Twitter page that Cable reacted when Hanson spoke profanely to defensive coordinator John Marshall. Cable rebuked Hanson, then pushed his chair, which caused the injury.

Jeremiah has been a prominent scout for the Ravens and Browns, but was dismissed along with general manager Phil Savage in Cleveland after the 2008 season. He is taking a year off while doing some unpaid media work, primarily through his Twitter page.

The National Football Post first reported the incident.

Talking to reporters after Monday's practice, Cable, who replaced Lane Kiffin as Oakland's head coach four games into the 2008 season, repeatedly sidestepped questions about the incident and declined to discuss his involvement.

"It's an internal issue that we are dealing with, and that's all I'm going to say," said Cable, who repeated the phrase when questioned if he was involved. "I'm not going to comment on that."

Cable spoke for less than 60 seconds regarding the incident. He answered four questions before reporters were cut off by a member of the Raiders' public relations department.

Hanson reportedly did not want to pursue the matter, but staff at the hospital alerted authorities, according to FanHouse.com.

"The victim didn't even want any police action taken," Napa Police Lt. Brian McGovern told the Web site, "but we were following hospital policy that authorities be contacted in cases where there may have been an assault."

FanHouse.com reported that Hanson suffered a fractured jaw. McGovern said, according to the Web site, that the Napa Police consider the matter closed "unless we are recontacted by the victim, and the victim changes their mind that they want us to follow through and pursue an investigation. At this point we're not doing anything else with it."

McGovern said the police report has not been made public over privacy concerns.

When contacted by ESPN.com, an NFL spokesman said the league would not comment on the matter.

Many players said they were unaware of any altercation, but at the beginning of Monday's practice when they were stretching, several broke out into a chant of "Cable, bumaye, Cable, bumaye" in reference to the crowd chants heard by former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali during his 1974 fight against George Foreman.

"I don't even know what they were saying," cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha joked. "I think there's still some guys who don't even know. I found out as I was coming out on the field. Guys were finding out here and there. It wasn't like a big announcement, so the reaction wasn't like a collective reaction. People were like, 'What's going on?' -- trying to find out, but no one really knew."

If true, this would be the second incident in less than 13 months involving Hanson and a Raiders head coach. In 2008, he was suspended by Kiffin after Hanson was critical of the team's effort in a season-opening loss to Denver.

Raiders owner Al Davis intervened on Hanson's behalf and later fired Kiffin.

Hanson was working with the defensive backs, but hasn't been seen at the team's training camp facilities since shortly after the incident supposedly took place.

"I know he's been around here, but we really haven't seen him that much," safety Hiram Eugene said. "They keep him in the offices."

Asked if Hanson was still employed by the team, Cable again declined comment.

In 2003, Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski punched teammate Marcus Williams during practice, shattering Williams' jaw. Williams later filed a civil lawsuit and was awarded $340,000 in damages.

Last August, Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith was suspended for two games after a training camp fight with teammate Ken Lucas.

Information from ESPN.com NFL reporter Bill Williamson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.