Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree "taped his chain to himself before Sunday’s game, knowing he was facing the chain-snatching Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib," according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
Talib still wound up with the chain, however, in the tussle between the two players during a larger scuffle involving several members of the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders. The incident resulted in Talib and Crabtree's ejections.
It was also a case of deja vu—Talib ripped Crabtree's chain from around his neck in Week 17 last season, per Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.
"He’s just been wearing that chain all year. It’s just been growing on me," Talib said after ripping it from Crabtree last January, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. "I said if he wears that chain in front of me, I’m going to snatch it off. 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 didn't take kindly to the first chain-stealing incident.
"They’re actors. You aren’t tough. You aren’t defending anybody up like that," he said, per Jhabvala. "You’re acting. You’re snatching chains up on the field. What do you accomplish? Are you hard? Are you tough? Does that make you tough? You’re snatching chains in front of the police and take off running. That was childish, man."
Sunday's incident began during a running play on Oakland's second possession, as Crabtree continued to block Talib out of bounds before the cornerback snatched the chain. That led to shoves before punches were thrown. Talib also ripped off Crabtree's helmet and tossed it toward the stands, and players from both teams joined the scrum.
"[Crabtree] didn't come to play football—we came to play football," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said, per Legwold, while also claiming that Crabtree punched him in the midsection the play prior. "He came to fight—we came to play football."
"I came out there to play football on Sunday," Talib told reporters Monday, per NFL.com. "I really don't know what he came out there to do. I just came out there to play football. He came out here on his extra stuff—one thing led to another, man. It's unfortunate. I wish it didn't happen, but it happened."
Given the bad blood between the players, an altercation seemed likely.
"We all knew it was going to happen," Raiders wideout Cordarrelle Patterson said, per STLToday.com. "It was just a matter of time when. Everybody was ready, prepared for it."
The NFL is reviewing the incident to determine if any additional discipline is required, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, though he noted that suspensions are rarely added for players who have been ejected from a game.