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Shell against suspension, says Stevens acted first

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Raiders coach Art Shell worked in the NFL
office long enough to know that Tyler Brayton will be punished for
kneeing Seattle's Jerramy Stevens in the groin.

Shell just hopes the punishment will be a fine, not a suspension, because he said videotape showed that Brayton was only reacting to a kick from Stevens.

"Tyler was reacting to someone trying to kick him in the groin
area," Shell said Tuesday. "So there was a reaction to that.
Sometimes when there's pushing and shoving, you might not react.
But when that happens, guys will react and he did. There will be
something. What it is, I don't know. Could be a fine. Hopefully
that's all it will be. Then we'll go from there."

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren disagreed with Shell's
interpretation of the tape, saying Stevens' foot got extended as he
tried to disengage from Brayton.

"It wasn't anything close to resembling what actually occurred,
afterward ...," Holmgren said, comparing what Stevens did to
Brayton's reaction. "If you look at the film, I think it's pretty
clear that's not what happened."

Both Brayton and Stevens were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Shell, who heard player appeals on fines and suspensions for
on-field conduct during his time in the NFL office, gave the
Raiders' side of the story to the league earlier Tuesday.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league was looking into the
play and could have a decision on further punishment as soon as
Wednesday.

Shell said he hopes that Stevens gets the same punishment that
Brayton does.

"It should because he initiated it and Tyler reacted," Shell
said. "You tell your guys not to react to things like that, but in
that situation you understand."

The play in question happened in the final minutes of Oakland's
16-0 loss to Seattle on Monday night. Brayton and Stevens were
pushing and grabbing at each other's shoulders away from a 4-yard
run by Mack Strong with 1:54 remaining in the game.

Shell said a replay showed that Stevens tried to kick Brayton.
Brayton then responded by raising his right knee onto the upper
inside half of Stevens' left thigh while an official watched just
yards away. Brayton got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and
was ejected.

Brayton admitted after the game that he made a mistake and
shouldn't have let his emotions get the best of him. But he didn't
accuse Stevens of acting first.

Stevens said he did nothing to antagonize Brayton and said it
was just the reaction of a player frustrated by the loss.

Raiders safety Stuart Schweigert, who drew a taunting foul from
Stevens earlier in the game, called the tight end a dirty player
and said Brayton would never have done what he did without
provocation.

"He's not going to do that for no reason," Schweigert said.
"He's not going to do it out of frustration. If a guy's doing that
and talking stuff, every man has their limit. Sometimes things got
to give, and last night it gave for Tyler. So I mean, that stuff
happens."

Brayton's infraction was Oakland's third unsportsmanlike penalty
in the game, with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan getting one in the
first quarter for arguing with an official and defensive lineman
Terdell Sands getting called for barking out signals while the
Seahawks were attempting an extra point.

But Shell took issue with critics who said Brayton's reaction
was a sign that the Raiders had lost their composure.

"That's unfair," Shell said. "It's not losing your composure.
Tyler has great character. That's uncharacteristic of him. He
doesn't do that. If you look at his track record in the league
office in terms of being fined for things I think he's only been
fined once, which was for grabbing a face mask, which is normal
when you're trying to tackle somebody."