Talib sus­pended one game for eye poke

Cor­ner­back says he didn’t mean for it to hap­pen

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The Na­tional Foot­ball League slapped Aqib Talib with a one-game sus­pen­sion for pok­ing Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in his right eye.

If up­held on ap­peal, Den­ver’s star cor­ner­back will miss the Bron­cos’ game against the Kansas City Chiefs this week­end. He’ll also miss out on a $323,529 pay­check on his $5.5 mil­lion base salary.

“I sat with Aqib on the plane com­ing home last night, had a long talk with him,” coach Gary Ku­biak said Mon­day. “He’s wrong. He needs to stay out of the sit­u­a­tion. It hurt the team.”

Talib said af­ter­ward he didn’t in­tend to poke Allen, but was only try­ing to shove him, in­sist­ing: “You think I play foot­ball to poke peo­ple in the eye? It was an hon­est mis­take.”

Talib was whis­tled twice in the fi­nal 2 min­utes, 25 sec­onds of Den­ver’s 27-24 loss at Indianapolis. The first was for un­nec­es­sary rough­ness when he poked two fin­gers into Allen’s face mask af­ter Allen and Von Miller were shout­ing and shov­ing fol­low­ing a 2yard run by Frank Gore.

“From my an­gle I saw him head-butt Von a lit­tle bit,” Talib said af­ter the game. “I went over there and tried to poke his head. I think my hand slipped there and hit his face. He acted like he got into an 18-pas­sen­ger car wreck. I guess that’s what type of guy he is.”

The sec­ond in­frac­tion came when line­backer Danny Tre­vathan was whis­tled for hold­ing on a chip-shot field goal with 28 sec­onds left, giv­ing Indy a first down and al- low­ing the Colts to run out the clock. At that point, Talib taunt­ingly clapped at an of­fi­cial, draw­ing an un­sports­man­like con­duct penalty.

Bai­ley sus­pended: St. Louis Rams wide re­ceiver Stedman Bai­ley was sus­pended four games for vi­o­lat­ing the NFL’s sub­stance abuse pol­icy.

Coach Jeff Fisher said he was “very, very dis­ap­pointed in his choices,” and had “nu­mer­ous con­ver­sa­tions” with the player.

Bai­ley served a two-game sus­pen­sion for per­for­mance en­hanc­ing drugs last sea­son.

Shortly af­ter Bai­ley’s sus­pen­sion was an­nounced, the Rams signed vet­eran re­ceiver Wes Welker.

Fisher said it was too early to say whether the 34-year-old Welker would be ac­tive this week against Chicago.

Fuel on the fire: Buf­falo Bills coach Rex Ryan is pre­par­ing to face his former team for the first time since be­ing fired by the New York Jets, and line­backer IK Enemk­pali will serve as one of Buf­falo’s cap­tains on Thurs­day night.

Ryan said he didn’t have any trou­ble mak­ing the des­ig­na­tion even though Enemk­pali was re­leased by the Jets for a punch that broke quar­ter­back Geno Smith’s j aw in Au­gust.

Roeth­lis­berger in­jures foot: Big Ben is back on the in­jury list.

Mak­ing his sec­ond start since re­turn­ing from a knee in­jury, Pitts­burgh Steel­ers quar­ter­back Ben Roeth­lis­berger in­jured his left foot mid­way through the fourth quar­ter of a 38-35 win against Oak­land on Sun­day.

Roeth­lis­berger was hurt on a sack by Oak­land’s Al­don Smith and stayed on the ground for sev­eral min­utes. Roeth­lis­berger hopped off the field, putting all his weight on his right leg and was helped to the side­line by team­mates.

He was taken to the locker room on a cart, and the Steel­ers an­nounced Roeth­lis­berger even­tu­ally left Heinz Field to un­dergo fur­ther eval­u­a­tion.

Steel­ers coach Mike Tom­lin said Roeth­lis­berger needs an MRI and didn’t have any fur­ther up­date.

Roeth­lis­berger was 24 of 44 for 334 yards with two touch­downs and an in­ter­cep­tion at the time of the in­jury. He passed Hall of Famers Johnny Uni­tas and Joe Mon­tana to move into 13th on the NFL’s ca­reer yards pass­ing list ear­lier in the game.

Roeth­lis­berger missed four games af­ter he sprained his left knee in Week 3. In other in­jury news:

Oak­land run­ning back Latavius Mur­ray left with a concussion in the third quar­ter against Pitts­burgh. Mur­ray was in­jured on a big hit from Steel­ers safety Mike Mitchell, lost the ball and line­backer Jarvis Jones re­cov­ered the fum­ble. Mur­ray, who had 17 car­ries for 96 yards, laid on the turf for sev­eral min­utes be­fore be­ing helped off the field.

New York Jets kicker Nick Folk strained his right quadri­ceps dur­ing pregame warmups and was re­placed on kick­offs and field goals by punter Ryan Quigley, who made all four of his ex­tra­point at­tempts.

Buf­falo Bills run­ning back LeSean McCoy in­jured his right shoul­der in a 33-17 win over Mi­ami. McCoy had 112 yards rush­ing, in­clud­ing a 48yard TD, be­fore he got hurt.

Pierre-Paul takes the field: The New York Gi­ants were bol­stered by the re­turn of de­fen­sive end Ja­son Pierre-Paul in the game against Tampa Bay.

Pierre-Paul had two tack­les and two quar­ter­back hits in his first ac­tion since the July Fourth fire­works ac­ci­dent that side­lined him for train­ing camp and eight games.

The sixth-year pro lost his right in­dex fin­ger and suf­fered other dam­age to the hand in the ac­ci­dent. He re­turned to prac­tice two weeks ago and was be­lieved to be on track to re­turn next week against the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots.

But he pro­gressed enough dur­ing work­outs that the Gi- ants de­cided to ac­ti­vate him against the Bucs.

“I just know I’m happy that I’m back out here,” Pier­rePaul said.

Ze­bra watch­ing: Ed Hochuli had a rough stretch dur­ing the Dal­las-Philadel­phia game.

The long­time ref­eree with the Pop­eye bi­ceps twice got the num­ber wrong on a Cow­boys penalty. The sec­ond time, he gave the num­ber of Or­lando Scan­drick (32), who is out for the sea­son with a knee in­jury. The pass in­ter­fer­ence call was against Barry Church (42) on Zach Ertz.

Hochuli’s first choice was Bran­don Carr (39), who had a cou­ple of huge — and le­gal — hits on Philadel­phia re­ceivers in the first quar­ter.

The crew also got con­fused by a Dal­las penalty for 12 men on the field on a punt re­turn.

Af­ter a lengthy dis­cus­sion, Hochuli said the penalty would be as­sessed from where the Cow­boys caught the punt. They moved the ball back, and then Hochuli had to say the penalty couldn’t be added af­ter the play. So the ball went back to the Dal­las 12.

Hochuli later stum­bled and fell at the end of a scram­ble by Matt Cas­sel.

Pho­tos de­pict in­juries in Hardy case: Only days af­ter Dal­las Cow­boys de­fen­sive end Greg Hardy had a guilty ver­dict in his bench trial ex­punged, pho­tos sur­faced of bruises and abra­sions suf­fered by his former girl­friend.

Dead­spin pub­lished a de­tailed ac­count of the case last Fri­day along with a gallery of pho­tos that show the var­i­ous in­juries Ni­cole Holder suf­fered to her back, legs, foot, arms, neck and chin that evening in Char­lotte, N.C., a year and a half ago.

The NFL had ac­cess to th­ese and other pho­tos be­fore is­su­ing its sus­pen­sion of Hardy in April. Sources said Cow­boys of­fi­cials were not al­lowed to view the pho­tos, sev­eral of which were un­der a pro­tec­tive or­der, be­fore Hardy signed with the club March 18.

While the club was not granted ac­cess to vis­ual ev­i­dence, sources stressed the Cow­boys were aware of the pho­tos and had an un­der­stand­ing of what was de­picted.

On May 13, 2014, Hardy was ar­rested when an ar­gu­ment be­tween him and Holder, his girl­friend at the time, es­ca­lated and re­sulted in both par­ties plac­ing calls to 911. A judge found Hardy guilty of com­mu­ni­cat­ing threats and as­sault two months later and gave him 18 months pro­ba­tion af­ter sus­pend­ing a 60-day j ail sen­tence.

Hardy was un­der con­tract with the Car­olina Pan­thers at the time. He played one game last sea­son be­fore he was placed on the com­mis­sioner’s ex­empt list, mean­ing he re­ceived his $13.1 mil­lion salary even though he didn’t play.

Hardy and his at­tor­ney ap­pealed un­der North Car­olina law, ask­ing for a jury trial in a su­pe­rior court. Charges were dis­missed ear­lier this year when the ac­cuser failed to ap­pear and prose­cu­tors were un­able to lo­cate her. Prose­cu­tors have in­di­cated that Hardy and Holder reached a civil set­tle­ment.

Com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell ruled in April that Hardy would serve a 10-game sus­pen­sion for vi­o­lat­ing the league’s per­sonal con­duct pol­icy. Ar­bi­tra­tor Harold Hen­der­son re­duced that pun­ish­ment to four games in July. Hardy made his Cow­boys de­but Oct. 11 against New Eng­land.

Ear­lier last week, Hardy had his ini­tial guilty ver­dict ex­punged in North Car­olina.

Former Vik­ing dies: Fred McNeill, who helped the Vik­ings reach two Su­per Bowls in his 12-year NFL ca­reer, died of com­pli­ca­tions from amy­otrophic lat­eral sclero­sis. He was 63.

Drafted 17th over­all in 1974, the former UCLA line­backer played in Min­nesota’s Su­per Bowl losses in 1975 and ’77. In 167 reg­u­lar-sea­son games, he had 1,068 tack­les, 13 sacks and seven in­ter­cep­tions.


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