With playoff hopes rejuvenated by their gaining of a full game on the AFC West division-leading Chiefs over the weekend, the Raiders may be forced to embark on a key two-week portion of the schedule, including one game in Kansas City, without Michael Crabtree.
The team’s touchdown leader was suspended two games by the league Monday, according to a tweet from NFL Vice President of Football Communications Michael Signora.
Crabtree was entangled in an altercation with Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib in the first quarter of Sunday’s 21-14 Oakland victory. Both players were ejected from the contest, but given a recent rash in similar altercations, including those involving AJ Green and Jalen Ramsey and Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore, the league and VP of Football Operations Jon Runyan have put their collective foot down.
— NFL 32 (@NFL32__) November 28, 2017
In a letter to the Raiders receiver explaining his suspension, Runyan wrote:
“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. … Such actions have no place in this game.”
Talib was issued the same two-game suspension.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman offered some understanding of Crabtree’s anger, stemming from continued attempts (and successes) by Talib to tear away Crabtree’s necklace, but, in the end, agreed that fight’s like this one have no place on the football field, saying after the game:
“They had some history, and it kinda worked its way into this year. Hopefully those guys hash that out. … We’re professionals, we have little kids that look up to us and you just want to remember that.”
Crabtree, who leads the Raiders in touchdowns (6), is tied for the team lead in receptions (42) and is second in receiving yards (502), has the right to appeal the suspension, as assured through the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Given Oakland’s position in the playoff race — one game behind the Chiefs for the division lead, tied with the Los Angeles Chargers — along with questions regarding the health of Amari Cooper — who left Sunday’s game with a concussion — it would likely benefit the Raiders for Crabtree to file and appeal.
The has yet to issues a statement regarding the suspension.
Along with their Week 14 matchup with the Chiefs, the Raiders also face the Chargers once more — a season-ending Week 17 showdown in Southern California.