Shutdown Corner - NFL

An NFL coach reportedly punched an assistant in the face and broke his jaw. I'd give you three guesses as to whom, but I'm pretty sure you'd only need one.

Fanhouse reports that Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable punched defensive assistant Randy Hanson earlier this month during an altercation at the team's training facility in Napa, Calif. Hanson was taken to the hospital and suffered a broken jaw, but declined to press charges.

Police wouldn't identify the victim or attacker for confidentiality reasons (even though a spokesman had no problem talking at length about the incident), but FanHouse quotes a "well-placed source" that says of the attacker:

"It's a well-known coach. Very well-known."

I'd contend that on the "known" scale Cable is closer to "barely" than "well" but that's just semantics.

The details are still sketchy in this story, so we'll reserve full judgment on the incident until all the facts are leaked come out. We don't know what provoked Cable, if it was indeed a sucker punch (as some sources have alleged) or whether this was some sort of hazing ritual that all Al Davis employees have to go through.

Hanson, it should be noted, has ruffled the feathers of a superior before. He was suspended by then-head coach Lane Kiffin last year after questioning the team's game plan following a 31-point loss to Denver.

The good news for Cable is that Oakland is probably the only place in the NFL where a coach can break the jaw of an assistant and earn respect of fans.  

Update: After refusing to discuss the "internal incident" during a routine press conference, Cable spoke with ESPN and denied punching Hanson. He didn't deny flipping Hanson out of his chair and causing the defensive assistant to break his jaw on a cabinet though, which is what one scout has written on his Twitter account.

Two facts seem incontrovertible: Cable and Hanson got into an altercation on August 5 and it resulted in Hanson going to the hospital. Beyond that, reports are conflicting.

During stretching excersises on Monday, Raiders players reportedly chanted "Cable buma ye", a reference to a chant residents of Zaire would serenade Muhammad Ali with as he trained in the country for his famous 1974 bout with George Foreman. The translation: "Cable, kill him." Guess we know whose side the players are on.

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