Things got testy early during Sunday's showdown between the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, leading to the first ejection of the NFL season.
With 4:59 remaining in the first quarter, Cleveland defenders ran Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire out of bounds near the Kansas City sideline. A scuffle ensued, and a late flag was thrown.
CBS cameras didn't catch the infraction live. But replay showed a rare sight in the NFL — a player and an opposing coach involved in a physical interaction. The TV broadcast showed Browns safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. stand up from the pile of players and shove a Chiefs assistant identified as running backs coach Greg Lewis in the face.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 12, 2021
Officials didn't initially eject Harrison, but issued a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to the Chiefs. Upon further review from replay officials, Harrison was issued a personal foul and ejected from the game.
A second angle showed what prompted the altercation.
After Harrison stepped over Edwards-Helaire, Lewis shoved Harrison. Then Harrison shoved him back in the face.
#Browns Ronnie Harrison can’t do this. You just can’t. Ejection and fine is automatic. Even if a coach pushes you because he thinks you’re purposely stepping on his player (and I actually don’t think it was on purpose by Harrison) you can’t open-hand shove a coach in the face. pic.twitter.com/jeWzEu1kUo
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 12, 2021
Lewis remained in the game. The Chiefs went on to score a field goal on the drive, cutting their early deficit to 8-3.
Cleveland went on to open a 22-10 lead, but the Chiefs rallied for a 33-29 win in a result that could end up playing a critical role in AFC playoff seeding.