Talking trash wasn't enough. The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers decided to trade punches.
Less than an hour before yesterday's game, Browns running back William Green and Steelers linebacker Joey Porter squared off and wildly swung at each other near midfield.
The altercation resulted in both being ejected before the opening kickoff and added another chapter to the NFL's nastiest rivalry, which had lost some of its snarl the past few years.
"We're getting it back," remarked Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney.
As the teams were going through pregame drills, Porter and Green got into a heated exchange in front of the Browns' bench. Seconds later, they were throwing overhand rights, uppercuts and roundhouse lefts before being separated.
"I've never been a boxing referee," Steelers running back Jerome Bettis said. "It was weird. It was just one of those unfortunate things. Emotions boiled over."
Porter landed one of his blows to Green's face, bloodying his lower lip.
Tensions between the teams were riding high following comments Browns defensive tackle Gerard Warren made in the days leading up to the game. Warren threatened to go after Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's head.
The NFL warned Warren on Friday that any unnecessary roughness could result in a suspension.
Warren's remarks had players edgy as they took the field.
"You could see something coming," Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said.
-- From News Services