ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Oakland receiver Michael Crabtree and Denver cornerback Aqib Talib had their two-game suspensions reduced to one game after appeal hearings on Tuesday.
Derrick Brooks heard Crabtree’s case and James Thrash heard Talib’s appeal, and both decided to reduce the two-game bans issued Monday by NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan.
The fight during Oakland’s 21-14 win on Sunday was a continuation of a dispute that started last season when Talib ripped Crabtree’s chain off during the season finale. Crabtree missed the first game between the teams this year but didn’t wait long to seek revenge.
Crabtree punched Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. while blocking him on the first play of Oakland’s second drive. He then aggressively blocked Talib on a running play and drove him to the ground on the Broncos’ sideline on the following play, starting the brawl.
Talib once again ripped Crabtree’s chain off his neck. He also took Crabtree’s helmet off and threw it, as well as exchanging punches with Crabtree.
“This did appear to be premeditated,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said earlier in the day. “It happened three minutes into the game. There’s a history there. It was prolonged. … Importantly, it put other people at risk. Sideline personnel. League personnel.”
Both players are eligible to return on Monday. Crabtree will miss Sunday’s game against the New York Giants but now will be eligible to play in a key AFC West showdown against Kansas City on Dec. 10. Talib will have to sit out this weekend’s game against Miami.
The suspension is costly to the Raiders (5-6), who are one game out of a playoff spot and now will be without a starting receiver for one game. Crabtree is tied for the team lead with 42 catches and has 502 yards receiving and a team-high six touchdowns.
The Raiders also could be without their other starting receiver in Amari Cooper, who suffered a concussion and a sprained ankle later in Sunday’s game after a hard hit by safety Darian Stewart that drew a penalty.
Talib is perhaps Denver’s top cover cornerback. His replacement, rookie Brendan Langley, surrendered a touchdown pass and a critical third-down completion that kept Denver from getting a shot at tying the game.