ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Cornerback Aqib Talib and Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree will each be suspended for the next two games, the NFL announced Monday evening. Talib is eligible to appeal the suspension to the league
The two players were disqualified from Sunday's game in Oakland during the Raiders' second offensive possession after Crabtree sparked an incident that involved Talib and several players on both teams.
"It obviously hurt us down the stretch," Head Coach Vance Joseph said Monday, "and I told our guys, 'If we can defuse those things, we have to defuse them.' We can't fall into the trap of getting into a fight that ends up losing one of our best players. We can't do it. It's unacceptable."
The confrontation began a play after Crabtree "sucker-punched" Chris Harris Jr., according to Harris.
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyon notified Talib of his suspension with the following letter:
"The series of flagrant violations for which you are being disciplined began less than three minutes into the game. First, while competing on the field of play, you deliberately ripped your opponent's chain from his neck just as you did last year when you played against him. Then, when the two of you went to the ground after a subsequent play, you aggressively removed his helmet and threw it in his direction, endangering him and various sideline personnel in the near vicinity. Finally, once you were momentarily separated from your opponent, you again engaged him and threw a punch… Such actions have no place in this game, engender ill will between teams, and lead to further confrontations."
Runyon wrote the following to Crabtree regarding his place in the altercation:
"The series of flagrant violations for which you are being disciplined began with 12:31 remaining in the first quarter – less than three minutes into the game. First, you punched a Broncos opponent Chris Harris in the midsection, resulting in him being removed from the game. Then, on the subsequent play, you blocked a different Broncos opponent (Aqib Talib) into the sidelines beyond the yellow media border, well after the play was over. Your actions triggered a melee and endangered various sideline and League personnel, including one of our Game Officials who was injured trying to maintain control of the situation. Finally, during the ensuing altercation, you grabbed and twisted that same opponent's facemask and threw a punch at him…Such actions have no place in this game, engender ill will between teams, and lead to further confrontations."