NFL trash talkers, beware: Say what you will off the field, but the league is watching closely to see if your actions on the field cross the line.
In the wake of several pointed comments in advance of this weekend’s divisional round playoffs, particularly the Jets-Patriots game on Sunday, the NFL contacted multiple teams to make sure the trash talk isn’t followed up by on-field behavior that might include excessive physical play, Newsday has learned.
According to a league source familiar with the situation, Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, contacted some teams to remind them that their actions in the games must not cross the line. The source wouldn’t divulge which teams were contacted, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Jets were one of them. There had also been some trash talking from the Ravens in advance of Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.
The source told Newsday that Anderson told the clubs that the “trash talk and bravado is expected to stay outside the white lines.” The source went on to say that Anderson made it clear that if “any illegal physical acts take place, the comments will be taken into account in evaluating disciplinary action.”
Earlier this week, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie publicly cursed out Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. And a day after Wes Welker made nearly a dozen references to feet in what appeared to be a series of subtle digs at Jets coach Rex Ryan’s reported foot fetish, Jets linebacker Bart Scott told Newsday that Welker had better watch out.
“I’ll tell you what,” Scott said on Friday. “Be very careful what you say about our coach. His [Welker's] days in a uniform will be numbered. Put it like that."