- The Washington Times - Monday, December 26, 2022

After Denver’s humiliating loss to the Rams on Sunday, Broncos defensive end Randy Gregory threw a punch at Los Angeles offensive lineman Oday Aboushi during the post-game handshakes.

Normally a time for chitchat, jersey exchanges and talk about families, the post-game meetup at midfield turned into something more when Gregory threw a punch at Aboushi following the Rams’ 51-14 win over the Broncos. Aboushi then threw a punch back, but a scuffle was averted when members of both teams held the two players back.  

Gregory and Aboushi were both suspended Monday by the NFL for one game. Gregory will miss the Broncos’ game at Kansas City on Sunday and Aboushi will sit out the Rams’ game against the Los Angeles Chargers.  

NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan issued the suspensions for violations of unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness rules, specifically those which prohibits “striking, swinging at, or clubbing the head, neck, or face of an opponent with the wrist(s), arm(s), elbow(s) or hand(s).”

In letters to the players, Runyan wrote: “As you were walking toward a group of teammates, coaches, and media, you both stopped and swung at each other’s head and/or neck. Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”  

Both will be eligible to return to their active roster on Jan. 2. Under the collective bargaining agreement, they also can appeal their suspensions.

Coach Sean McVay said the Rams and Aboushi will appeal the suspension. Aboushi has started four games and played extensively in two others since signing with Los Angeles in September. The nine-year NFL veteran played all but one snap against the Broncos, adding veteran stability to a line that has been decimated by injuries.

A video of the incident posted on Twitter by CBS Colorado sports anchor Michael Spencer shows Gregory and Aboushi arguing before Gregory threw a punch. Both players had their helmets on when the punches were thrown. 

Quarterback Baker Mayfield’s on-field interview after he completed 24-of-28 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns was interrupted by the brouhaha. 

“Got some feistiness between two teams,” CBS Sports’ Tracy Wolfson said when interviewing Mayfield. 

The 37-point drubbing was one of the worst losses of the NFL season and dropped the Broncos to 4-11 on the season. The Broncos fired first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett on Monday with two games left in the season.

Gregory is in his first season with Denver after signing a five-year deal after a standout season with Dallas in 2021. Aboushi is a veteran in his first season with the Rams. 

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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