Denver Broncos

Revenge played role in former Raiders punter Marquette King signing with Broncos

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AP

Revenge played role in former Raiders punter Marquette King signing with Broncos

Marquette King will stay in the AFC West. That was, in part, a factor in signing with the Denver Broncos just days after the Raiders cut him with three years left on his contract.

The popular, productive punter said facing the Raiders regularly over the life of his new three-year deal -- reportedly worth up to $7 million -- in Denver played a part in his decision.

“I just wanted to find the best place that I thought I would fit,'' King said in a conference call with Denver media, per KUSA. "I think there is somewhat of a revenge factor in there, too.”

That revenge factor wasn’t the only reason King chose Denver. He called the Mile High City a “punter’s paradise,” with its high altitude allowing his strong leg to send punts high and deep. King has been excellent during appearances in Denver, and played a vital role in a 2015 victory at Sports Authority Field by placing five punts inside the opposing 20-yard line.

It must also be said here that King didn't choose to get cut. He was released without warning, and found a solid fit and a quality salary. King said the last week has been weird, from his surprise cut to signing in Denver. 

“The last few days were definitely different. It felt like — you know how you play those UFC games and you get punched and you’re in a daze until you get knocked out? That’s what it kind of felt like,” King said, via the Denver Post. “It all happened so fast. I just felt like Denver was the best team to go to. The people that I was familiar with that are here with the organization — you get a homely feeling when you get here. I’m just looking forward to competing and winning games. That’s all.”

Punters of King’s caliber don’t often hit free agency, especially mid-contract. He had roughly $3 million per season coming through 2020 on a deal inked during the 2016 offseason, a number now too steep for the Raiders.

King was also well known for celebrating successful punts, the occasional penalty flag and an eccentric personality that gave him a powerful social media presence.

King said he wasn’t told if that played a role in his release from the Raiders. He didn’t get an explanation, and said he never met new Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

“I just saw him on car commercials and stuff,” King said, via the Denver Post. “But I’ll definitely get to see him two times a year.”

King said the Broncos didn’t ask him to tone down his celebrations or off-field persona.

“Not at all,'' King said, via the Denver Post. "The cool thing about the Broncos is the people that work at the Broncos encourage you to be yourself. That is real cool. Players play a lot better when they can let their hair down and be themselves. It’s cool.''

King hasn’t spoken to Bay Area press since his release, but tweeted two things shortly after signing with Denver.

Raiders edge rusher Bruce Irvin, who wasn’t thrilled with King posting a picture of him and Aqib Talib holding a chain – a perceived shot at Michael Crabtree’s feud with the then-Broncos cornerback – chimed in on King’s team switch.

Talib faults Crabtree for starting fight; 'That's what he wanted'

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USATSI

Talib faults Crabtree for starting fight; 'That's what he wanted'

ALAMEDA –A brawl broke out early in Sunday’s game with the Raiders at Oakland Coliseum, and the Denver Broncos say Michael Crabtree started it.

They point to a punch to Chris Harris Jr.’s gut on the first play of Oakland’s second series. Things escalated on the next play, with Crabtree and nemesis Aqib Talib took things too far.

Talib can be shown ripping Crabtree’s chain for the second time in as many seasons. Crabtree piledrives Denver’s top cornerback to the ground on the Broncos sideline, and then got his helmet ripped off in a full-on melee. The pair threw punches, and others got caught in the wash of something everyone seemed to see coming.

Talib says he wasn’t planning on it, that Crabtree prompted the dustup.

“I came out there to play football on Sunday and I don’t really know what he came out there to do,” Talib told reporters in Denver. “I came out there to play football and he came out here on this extra stuff, so one thing lead to another. It’s unfortunate and I wish it didn’t happen, but it happened. Just have to move on.”

Talib said Crabtree’s shot to Harris Jr. didn’t prompt the second chain grab. Talib said Crabtree struck again.

“I didn’t even defend Chris,” Talib said. If you see the play, I didn’t defend Chris. He punched Chris and the next play he came and punched me. He was on his—whatever he was on. I wasn’t even defending Chris this time. That wasn’t even a problem.”

The Broncos call Crabtree the instigator. We haven’t heard Crabtree’s take. The Raiders receiver has talked once since the start of the offseason program, following a victory over Kansas City. He was not in the locker room after Sunday’s win. Those who spoke said the same thing, that they knew Crabtree and Talib had a history.

That dates back to the 2016 regular-season finale, when Talib snatched his chain for no reason. Crabtree didn’t retaliate then, making a “business decision” to focus on winning a division title (and securing a performance bonus).

He seemed ready for this one. According to an ESPN report, Crabtree wore a chain as he always does, but taped it to his body. Talib got it anyway.

The fight got out of hand from there, even with a Raiders season hanging in the balance. Crabtree and Talib seemed willing to engage on several occasions.

Talib admits the fight went on too long.

“I guess the second half of it definitely could have been defused,” he said. “That’s what I’m disappointed about, the second half of it. The first half, that was him being extra. That’s what he wanted. He didn’t want to play that game, he wanted to come out and wrestle all day. It’s alright.”

Three things you need to know from Raiders' 21-14 victory over Broncos

Three things you need to know from Raiders' 21-14 victory over Broncos

OAKLAND – Three things you need to know after the Raiders’ 21-14 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Oakland Coliseum:

1. Pagano helps pass rush: Edge rusher Bruce Irvin didn’t believe a change in defensive play callers had an impact on one of his unit’s best showings.

“I wouldn’t say so,” Irvin said. “We just let it rip.”

The Raiders, however, did some different things up front under new play caller John Pagano. He took over after defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was fired Tuesday. Pagano had a few days to change things, but he dialed up some pressure against young quarterback Paxton Lynch.

He moved Khalil Mack around, having him rush inside more than he has all year, and occasionally played next to Bruce Irvin. Pass rushers came from all angles, generally with several near the line of scrimmage but a select few dropping back into coverage.

The results were positive. The Raiders had five sacks. They ended a 10-plus game interception drought. They held Denver to just 66 yards in the first three quarters, before backup quarterback Trevor Siemian mounted a ill-fated comeback.

“I thought there was certainty, decisiveness,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Play fast. They played very fast. …For three quarters, it was pretty good.”

It's uncertain whether there was marked improvement or the uptick was Paxton Lynch-related. The young quarterback was awful, and clearly flustered by the Raiders defense. Siemian was far better, functional anyway, against that group. How they fare in future weeks will go a long way in determining how much of an impact Pagano can have on a unit lacking depth and talent at key spots. 

2. Reserve receivers find a way: Michael Crabtree got ejected in the first quarter for his part in a brawl. Amari Cooper got concussed in the second after taking a shot to the head and neck.

That left the Raiders razor thin at receiver, with Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton outside of slot man Seth Roberts. That group doesn’t play or produce much in the passing game, but they came through with big plays in a had-to-have-it game.

Holton’s 47-yard catch set up the game-deciding touchdown catch by Jalen Richard. Patterson iced victory with a 54-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter. Roberts was reliable after a terrible showing last week against New England.

The trio combined on seven catches for 151 yards and zero drops.

“We just stepped up and did what we are supposed to do,” Patterson said. “We know what we can do that’s why when people go down its next man up.”

3. Wide open AFC West: The Kansas City Chiefs controlled the AFC West at one time. That was before the wheels came off. They have lost five of their last six.

The Raiders are just a game off the division lead. The Chargers are in the same spot. The Silver and Black play both teams in the closing weeks, and control their playoff destiny. If they can go on a run – that still seems improbable – they can win the division outright.

That seems wacky considering how much drama surrounds a season gone awry, but the Raiders are right in the thick of that and the wild-card race.

“Situationally, this was a must win,” Carr said. “After the game, we find out other things. What happens around the league, and you know where you sit. It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t take care of business. It’s an exciting things because we’re right there. We know where we stand, but at the same time we have to go take care of business.”