NFL fines Brayton $25K, Stevens $15K for altercation

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- When Tyler Brayton got back to the
Oakland locker room after being ejected for kneeing Seattle tight
end Jerramy Stevens in the groin, he counted on facing a suspension.

The infraction happened on national television and he heard the commentators compare him to Tennessee cheap-shot artist Albert Haynesworth, making a suspension seem like an inevitable punishment.

The NFL spared Brayton a suspension Wednesday, ruling that
Stevens was also to blame for the altercation and fining both
players instead. Brayton got docked $25,000 and Stevens will lose
$15,000 for their behavior in Seattle's 16-0 victory over Oakland
on Monday night.

"I feel like I let a lot of people down. I embarrassed myself,
my family, the Raiders organization, the entire NFL," Brayton
said. "For that, I apologize. I kind of allowed my personal
frustrations and emotions to get the best of me. My actions are
inexcusable, provoked or unprovoked. I also apologize to Jerramy Stevens and the Seattle Seahawks. Doesn't matter what the situation
was, I had no right to do that."

Gene Washington, the NFL's director of football operations,
ruled that Stevens attempted to kick Brayton in the groin area on
the same play, leading to his fine.

Washington also ruled that Stevens head-butted and taunted
Oakland safety Stuart Schweigert on a play in the second quarter
that drew a personal foul. Stevens was not ejected from the game.

"A bigger man would have walked away and I'm disappointed in myself for that. But every time I look at the TV, I just cringe. That's not the type of player that I want to be."
-- Oakland defensive lineman Tyler Brayton

Stevens refused comment through a team spokesman after the
Seahawks practiced in Kirkland, Wash.

Teammate Julian Peterson said he "couldn't stand" Stevens when
Peterson played in San Francisco prior to this season, because
Stevens "knows how to rub people the wrong way."

"It's sort of like that gnat that keeps on being around you.
You're like, 'Man, get away.' You end up trying to slap it all the
time," Peterson said, slapping his arm.

But the linebacker thought Stevens' fine was unfair.

"I didn't think Jerramy deserved a fine on that," Peterson
said. "He didn't intentionally try to knee anybody in the groin
area ... I think that's a little bit excessive right there."

Raiders coach Art Shell made a point Tuesday of showing the
league why he believed Stevens was the instigator, a contention
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren disagreed with.

"You get two teams, two coaches, you look at the same play and
see it differently. I mean, that's pretty normal," he said. "We
all want the same thing, for the game to be played properly, within
the rules, all those things. And sometimes it's necessary to send a
message. I certainly will have my opinions. I will keep them to
myself, though."

The outspoken Warren Sapp was more pointed.

"This dude has been a piece of [excrement] since he got in this
league, and it's never going to change about him," Sapp said.
"You're just a punk. You're just out there trying to get something

"You can just look at this guy's track record, it's just what
it is," Sapp said.

"Something's got to change about it -- but he's going to get
his, guaranteed. This league has a great way of humbling you. And
he'll get his, no doubt about it."

Holmgren said he did talk to his players Wednesday about what he
called "selfish" acts that take away from the team's objectives.
He said he would talk to Stevens specifically later in the week.

"Those are things that really bother me a lot," Holmgren said.
"It is such a great game, and such a great team effort to get
something done, that to have someone put themselves above the team
in any way, it just bothers me. That's a no-no. I ranted and raved
a little bit this morning. But I think I explained to them why.
They got to know how I feel."

Brayton said he expected a suspension after hearing comparison's
to Haynesworth, who was suspended for five games by the NFL earlier
this year for stomping on Dallas center Andre Gurode's face.

He admitted it's difficult to watch the play again.

"It's ugly from my end no matter what you look at it," he
said. "A bigger man would have walked away and I'm disappointed in
myself for that. But every time I look at the TV, I just cringe.
That's not the type of player that I want to be."

Brayton addressed his teammates before practice Wednesday to
apologize to them.

"I'm just happy they didn't get suspended," Shell said.
"There was talk about that. I was happy they didn't get suspended.
Tyler spoke to the team about what happened. That's not Tyler. He
just reacted to a situation that was not a good situation."

Brayton's teammates came to his defense, saying Brayton wouldn't
do that type of thing without being provoked. Defensive tackle
Warren Sapp said he'd even pay part of Brayton's fine, if

"He's a good guy, a great dude. He's a coach's dream, no doubt
about it," Sapp said. "He's exactly what you would want out of
your football player. The other dude? You wouldn't want him on your
ballclub. You wouldn't want to be around him."