After getting ejected from the Oakland Raiders' blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers for punching Ben Roethlisberger(notes), Richard Seymour(notes) explained what led to the cheap shot and why he took it (from the Contra Costa Times via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
"It was a lot of ongoing [stuff], and you're out there to protect yourself. It's still no excuse. I'm not sure exactly what happened on the play. I just turned around, and he just ran up on me quick. It was just natural reaction."
So, to sum up: It's Richard Seymour's natural reaction to clock a helmeted-guy in the jaw whenever there's the slightest scuffle on the football field. And to think, we all thought he wouldn't fit in with the Raiders!
In case you haven't seen Seymour's cheap shot:
[Photos: See more of Richard Seymour in action]
No fine or suspension has yet been announced for Seymour, but one (or both) is surely coming. If Steelers linebacker James Harrison(notes) had his way, he knows how he'd sanction the Raiders defender (from the Post-Gazette):
"I don't see why [he shouldn't be suspended...] They're trying to suspend guys for hits when that's within the whistles, some hits that guys can't even stop from doing. It's an adjustment that a receiver makes to what you are about to do to him, and you end up hitting helmet to helmet. You're talking about suspending a guy for that? You tell me what the next step is for a guy who blatantly, outside the play, it's already thrown, and a guy is going to celebrate with his teammates and you punch him in the face."
It's not often that James Harrison makes sense (recall his briefly planned "retirement" a few weeks back), but he does in this case. If Roger Goodell is going to make a big deal about players being dirty while trying to make plays, he should make a big deal about players being dirty after the whistle has blown too. True, the sanctioning of illegal hits is a player safety issue, and for as big as Seymour is, I doubt his punch affected Roethlisberger's safety. But this is like the broken-windows theory: Clean up the environment on the field and it might lead to a clean up of the play as well.
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- Richard Seymour