Aqib Talib, Michael Crabtree ejected for throwing punches in brawl

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Wide receiver Michael Crabtree and cornerback Aqib Talib sparked a sideline brawl early in Sunday’s game between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.

Both players were subsequently ejected from the game.

The altercation came just three minutes into the second meeting of the season between the two bitter AFC West rivals. It started when Crabtree, who has a history with Talib, blocked the Broncos cornerback long after the whistle, shoving him deep into the Broncos’ sideline.

As the two players grappled on the ground, Talib ripped off Crabtree’s helmet and several Broncos rushed over to restrain their teammate. Broncos wide receiver Bennie Fowler then pushed Raiders offensive lineman Donald Penn into Broncos cornerback Brendan Langley, and the brawl escalated from there.

As a large crowd formed along the sideline, with Broncos linebacker Shane Ray among those in the middle of it, CBS television cameras captured Crabtree near the end zone taking a swing at Talib before several players intervened.

Raiders offensive lineman Gabe Jackson was also ejected for shoving an official during the incident.

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch helped lead Talib off the field following his ejection.

Crabtree did not play in the first meeting between the two teams earlier this season. Last season, Talib ripped a chain necklace off Crabtree’s neck after a brief exchange and was not penalized.

“I said if he wears that chain in front of me, I’m going to snatch it off,” Talib said, according to The Denver Post. “He wore it in front of me so I had to snatch it off. He started crying to the ref. He didn’t say nothing to me though.”

Crabtree later said he wanted to punch Talib but did not retaliate because he knew he would be ejected, calling it a “business decision.”

Talib also appeared to grab Crabtree’s chain before the brawl Sunday.

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@usatoday.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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