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Seahawks DL Quinton Jefferson calls sideline incident with fans in Jacksonville 'unfortunate'

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson called the sideline incident involving fans at Jacksonville's EverBank Field on Sunday "unfortunate" and said he wished it hadn't escalated to the level it did.

Jefferson attempted to climb into the stands after fans had thrown drinks at him as he was leaving the field following his ejection in the closing seconds of Seattle's 30-24 loss to the Jaguars.

Jefferson said Wednesday that he doesn't recall hearing a racial slur yelled at him, which was alleged by teammate Jarran Reed on Twitter on Sunday night. Jefferson said one fan made a vile comment about his mother.

Reed, who was on the field during the sideline incident, reaffirmed to The Seattle Times on Wednesday that he heard a fan yelling a racial slur at Jefferson.

"I honestly don't know," Jefferson said when asked about the alleged slur. "There was a lot of people saying a lot of stuff, so I really didn't tune into anything in particular. There was really only one thing I tuned into in particular. Somebody said they was going to have sex with my mother. That's the only thing I really can really remember. There was a lot of yelling."

The sideline incident occurred during an ugly ending to Sunday's game.

Seahawks defensive linemen continued to fire off the ball as Jacksonville was in a victory formation, leading to scuffles on consecutive plays. Sheldon Richardson was ejected after the first scuffle, which was precipitated by Michael Bennett attempting to swipe at the snap and falling into the legs of Jaguars center Brandon Linder. Jefferson was ejected after the next scuffle.

Bennett and Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette were also penalized for unnecessary roughness. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll ran to the middle of the field in an attempt to rein his players in, which drew a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that no Seahawks will be suspended for their actions from the end of Sunday's game, though fines remain in play. Jefferson said he wasn't surprised by the league's decision to not levy any suspensions and defended how Seattle's defensive linemen continued playing as Jacksonville was kneeling out the clock.

"Yeah, I'm happy to hear that. I kind of figured because nobody really did anything wrong," Jefferson said. "If you actually go back and watch the film and see, none of us did anything wrong. We're down by six, and we're playing until the last play. I mean, we still have a chance to win, and it's a football down, so if they snap the ball, I don't see what's wrong with us coming off the ball, playing football. And even Mike's play, Mike's trying to swipe at the ball. We're trying to get the ball back, trying to win the game. So I wasn't surprised."

Jefferson was a fifth-round pick by Seattle out of Maryland in 2016. He re-joined the Seahawks earlier this season after a stint with the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle's opponent Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

Jefferson was heading toward the tunnel after his ejection Sunday night when the first drink was thrown at him from the stands. He stopped and made his way back toward where the drink was thrown from and exchanged words with a fan as Seahawks sideline personnel held him back. When another drink nearly hit Jefferson's head, he broke free and bolted toward the stands, attempting to climb the railing before he was pulled down and escorted away.

According to ESPN's Kevin Seifert, the NFL does not have a rule that explicitly prohibits players from entering the stands before, during or after a game. Such an action would be subject to potential discipline under the league's rules regarding sportsmanship and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Jefferson said he has since watched the video of the incident.

"It was a little hard," he said. "It was even worse because I've got kids. My kids seen it, my wife seen it, and she was upset about it and everything. I felt even more for them because they had to watch that stuff."

Carroll on Monday said Jefferson was wrong to handle the incident the way he did.

"He feels terrible about it," Carroll said. "It's not the kind of kid he is. He just emotionally got overrun and he lost it. Fortunately, people restrained him and all that. It's a tremendous learning opportunity for him and any other young guys."

Said Jefferson: "We talked some about it. It was just one of them things. It's unfortunate. I wish it didn't get that far, wish it didn't happen, but it's one of them things that happened. We've got to learn from it, and then ultimately we've got to move on from it. We're getting ready for L.A."