NFL Sends Loud, Clear Message to Crabtree, Talib With Suspensions

Because the Oakland Raiders don't have enough on their plates these days, Michael Crabtree's two-game suspension (as part of a double-truck with Denver's Aqib Talib) punches one more hole in their wobbly playoff chances.

And it is one of the few player discipline issues the NFL has tackled that won't feature a lot of blowback.

Crabtree and Talib have created their own two-man football league in which their mutual enmity has flowered, and with Sunday's brawl that began in all fairness last December, has finally reached the league's breaking point.

The events of the day, which we can presume you will all argue over, resulted in Crabtree having his neck chain yanked off him by Talib, which had happened last year as well, even though Crabtree had apparently taped it to his skin as a precaution. The two threw haymakers and moved across the field with players from both teams in a furious swarm that ended with them both being ejected along with Oakland guard Gabe Jackson, who was cited for pushing an official.

It was, in short, a great brawl between two guys who hate each other more than they like football. And the result is that neither will play until December 17.

The Broncos lose one of their premier defenders, but as their season is already a ruination, it is a punishment without ramifications except for Talib's wallet.

The Raiders, on the other hand, have struggled to function without Crabtree, who remains Derek Carr's favorite receiver, and if Amari Cooper remains concussion-protocol bound, the Oaklands will go into Sunday's game against the moribund New York Giants with neither of their two best receivers.

The message from the league was clear and unambiguous: "This is one we can't screw up." Crabtree and Talib have taken their bloodfeud to its logical conclusion, and the payment for another repeat would surely test even their mutual resolves.

And if the Raiders suffer as a result, well, at least the more conspiratorial fans can take it as yet another sign that their favorite team is again relevant enough to be persecuted by Park Avenue.

Which I guess in this forelorn season is something.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Tune into Scott Bair's Raiders Update on Tuesday at 3pm streaming live on Facebook and

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