Gutierrez: Seymour Kicked Out, Raiders Knocked Out


Gutierrez: Seymour Kicked Out, Raiders Knocked Out


PITTSBURGH, Pa. -- Still trying to figure out what prompted Richard Seymour to drop Ben Roethlisberger with a swift open-palm strike to the facemask seconds after Pittsburgh scored to take a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter?So, too, is Seymour, apparently."Well, first of all, I thought I let my teammates down," Seymour said as he walked to the team bus, surrounded by media. "You never want to do anything to hurt the team. That's first and foremost. It was a lot of ongoing (drama) 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 a natural reaction, it just happened quickly. It was what it was."Asked if Roethlisberger said anything to him before the martial arts-worthy blow, Seymour looked straight ahead and kept moving."You heard a lot of stuff going on," he said. "I never complain about what happens in the trenches. You've never heard me complain about anything that goes on. Like I said, my main focus is on the team and not doing anything to hurt the team."Seymour, at defensive tackle, had been getting into skirmishes with left guard Chris Kemoeatu all day."Me and him were exchanging words and punches the whole game," Kemoeatu said. "But of he had something personal with me, he should have took it out on me, and not on Ben."We knew what we had to do to win this game. We had to give it everything we got, whether it was eye-gouging or spitting on each other. A lot of that was going on this game. It's uncalled for, but in the heat of battle, a lot happens."Even the NFL's poster boy for illegal helmet-to-helmet hits was stunned by Seymour's strike. In fact, Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who was fined 75,000 earlier this season for a hit, thinks Richard Seymour should hear from the NFL."I'm playing the game within the whistles," Harrison said. "What he did was way outside."You tell me what the next step is or a guy who blatantly, outside the play, when it's already been done and said, and the guy is celebrating with his teammates, and you punch him on the face."

Don't let Raiders coach Tom Cable's decision to replace Jason Campbell with Bruce Gradkowski late in the third quarter allow you to think there's uncertainty at quarterback again."They turned up the blitz a little bit more on (Jason) and it started to get out of hand a little bit for him," Cable said. "He'll be the starter next week. There is no issue there. We just felt like a change was needed. As we all saw, it didn't make a lot of a difference."Campbell, who was sacked four times and has been sacked 11 times in six-pls quarters by the Steelers, had a passer rating of 26.2 after completing seven of 19 for 70 yards and an interception; Gradkowski's was 46.9 on 13 of 24 passing with an interception. He was sacked twice."Each and every week it's a tough question," Campbell said of being asked who the starting QB will be.Gradkowski seemed resigned when asked if he was disappointed with Cable's proclamation."Yeah, I mean, that's not my decision," he said. "So I mean, I can't do nothing about it."

Defensive end Trevor Scott was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee after being injured on the final play of the first half covering a punt.Cornerback Chris Johnson (groin) was the only other Raiders player to not finish the game.
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NBA poised for season unlike it's ever seen

NBA poised for season unlike it's ever seen

The story lines are as long as a Stephen Curry 3-pointer.

With a superteam in the West, a megastar in the Midwest, superstars all around the league, its global popularity at an all-time high, more revenue than ever and labor peace looming, this season has the potential to be like no other the league has ever had. Yes, rivaling the Celtics' run in the 1960s, possibly topping Magic-Bird rivalry of the '80s and Michael Jordan's run of the '90s.

LeBron James is holding the title in Cleveland and Kevin Durant has settled in Golden State, so the NBA Finals could be headed for the same destination again next June.

But what a journey it should be getting there.

"I think there is a somewhat an inevitability of this Cleveland-Warriors meeting in the finals again, which can sometimes make you overlook how enjoyable the regular season can be if you love basketball," ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy said. "So I think they'll meet in the finals again, but that doesn't make the regular season uninteresting to me."

A summer spending spree created new contenders and enticing questions for a global audience that will begin being answered Tuesday when the new season opens in the places the last one ended.

The record-setting Warriors will be must-see TV again with Durant, the former scoring champ and league MVP, sharing shots with Curry, the current scoring champ and MVP.

James is on a Jordan-like run, looking for a seventh straight trip to the NBA Finals and hoping to build a dynasty where there was once just despair.

There's Dwyane Wade in Chicago and Dwight Howard in Atlanta after both went home.

Derrick Rose left home, traded from the Bulls to the New York Knicks.

Former Commissioner David Stern used to say the NBA was in its golden age.

Under Adam Silver, it may be even shinier.

"There are a lot of charged-up players in this league," Silver said. "There are a lot of teams, young teams in the development cycle, where I think they would even say realistically they're unlikely to win the championship this season, but they're on the road to winning a championship."

He will give James and the Cavaliers their rings before the season opener, and Durant joins Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson in the expensive and explosive Warriors lineup later that night against San Antonio.

Their teams are heavily favored to meet in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year, a rivalry that could turn into something like the Celtics-Lakers, or before that of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.

But this is no two-team show.

[POOLE: NBA predictions: Cavs don't make Finals; Westbrook MVP]

"It's tough," Green said. "But at the same time I'm almost certain that it's a goal of (Cleveland's) to get back to try to win a championship. With that being said, there's a lot of great teams in this league. And they're not saying we're going to watch the Cavs and the Warriors in June."

Like Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City being defiant, not devastated by Durant's departure the way the Cavs were when James bolted for Miami in 2010.

Or young stars like Karl-Anthony Towns growing up into the spotlight, now that Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, titans for so long, have grown old and retired. And yet another batch of unmatched international talent, led by No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, an Australian whose debut will be delayed as he recovers from a foot injury.

It's what the league sought to create during the 2011 lockout, when more revenues were shifted from players to teams in hopes the clubs would then distribute them better and chip away at the gulf between the big-market haves and the little-market have-nots.

Money really started pouring in with the extension of the league's national TV contracts, which kicked in this season to the tune of about $2.6 billion annually. The TV deal has sent salaries soaring so much that owners and players are poised to agree to a new labor agreement soon without the type of fight that led to the last one.

The wealth of talent, and the wealth to acquire it, has emboldened teams to spend now where they once may have stood pat.

Durant, Al Horford and many more switched teams during the dizzying days of July free agency, with the Spurs putting Pau Gasol alongside Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge into the frontcourt spot that Duncan for so long had anchored.

A third of the league changed coaches, with clubs like Minnesota (Tom Thibodeau) and Houston (Mike D'Antoni) turning to proven winners to steer them through the rough Western Conference waters.

The Spurs or Clippers could emerge as the toughest test out there for the Warriors. Things look easier for James in the East, where he has emerged as the champion for six straight years. But he never thinks about what happened in the past.

"There are going to be so many more challenges, so many different obstacles that we're going to have to face this year as a ballclub," James said. "We have to be mentally focused, mentally prepared for it all. I think we will, be but it will not be easy and it shouldn't be."

Silver, who should definitely like what he sees, summed up the anticipation:

"I'm looking forward to the season."

Robinson, Lynch questionable for 49ers' next game

Robinson, Lynch questionable for 49ers' next game

SANTA CLARA – Cornerback Rashard Robinson and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch might not be available when the 49ers return after the bye week to play the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 6.

Neither Robinson nor Lynch sustained long-term injury, 49ers coach Chip Kelly said on Monday, a day after they left the game in the third quarter of the 49ers’ 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both players underwent MRI examinations on Monday.

Robinson sustained a partially torn MCL in his left knee. The injury will not require surgery, but it is uncertain how long he will be out of action. Lynch sustained a high left ankle sprain. He is also questionable for the 49ers’ next game.

The 49ers players had meetings on Monday before Kelly dismissed the team until next Tuesday.

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead also left Sunday’s game due to an injury in the third quarter. Kelly suggested Armstead’s shoulder condition will not prevent him from being ready to play upon the team’s return to action.