NFL investigating Cable reports

Updated: August 18, 2009, 5:06 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NAPA, Calif. -- Tom Cable went on the defensive Tuesday and the NFL said it would investigate reports that the Oakland Raiders coach got into a fight that sent one of his assistants to the hospital.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is looking into the situation to try to determine the facts of what happened.

A day after calling it "an internal issue that we are dealing with," Cable denied anything transpired at all with defensive assistant Randy Hanson earlier this month. Cable allegedly punched Hanson in the jaw.

"Nothing happened," Cable told a large swarm of reporters Tuesday when asked about it following a joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers. "Listen, you want to talk about this football team and the players on this football team, I'll talk all day. Otherwise, I'm not getting into it."

A report filed with the Napa Police Department describes an unnamed 41-year-old Raiders 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 on Aug. 5.

AOL Fanhouse reported that Cable was the coach who caused the injury.

That's backed up by what former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah told ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Monday night. 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.

Cable also declined to comment on the NFL investigation.

"I respect that," Cable said when told it was only fair to give him chance to respond. "You have to respect I want to talk about my team."

And his team really didn't want to talk about him, either. Cable hasn't told the players anything.

"That's for you guys to talk about. I have no idea what happened, if anything happened. I could really care less," left guard Robert Gallery said. "I worry about winning games. Until you know or the truth comes out, rumors can get spread real fast. You could start one now and it could change tomorrow."

The Raiders are used to this -- constant drama, controversy, potential distractions.

Lane Kiffin, Cable's predecessor, was fired last September for cause after what owner Al Davis described as acts of insubordination and lying. Kiffin filed a grievance and is seeking two months pay for the time he was unemployed before being hired at the University of Tennessee.

The Raiders sent a letter to Tennessee in January, explaining how they believe Kiffin breached his contract, violated NFL rules and was insubordinate despite warnings from Davis.

Cable replaced Kiffin four games into the 2008 season.

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.

Also, there was former coach Bill Callahan calling his players "the dumbest team in America" in 2003, Randy Moss quitting on his team during his two-year stint in Oakland, and former coach Art Shell benching and then suspending receiver Jerry Porter for insubordination.

"It's just another day around here," running back Justin Fargas said. "Things wouldn't be normal if there wasn't some controversy."

Information from ESPN's Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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