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NFL puts teams on notice about on-field actions after trash talk

The NFL office has closely monitored the words of "multiple teams" -- particularly those in the AFC -- after some heated exchanges this week.

Disciplinary head Ray Anderson contacted officials from those teams this week, a league source said Saturday, essentially to put those teams on notice.

The teams were instructed to tell their players that "trash talking and bravado" isn't intended to spill over into the field of play, and "if any illegal physical acts take place, the comments will be taken into account in evaluating disciplinary action."

Since October, the NFL has ratcheted up its enforcement of hits to defenseless players with a series of fines -- and the threat of suspension. No suspensions have been handed out, but the recent rash of trash talk before playoff games prompted Anderson to further emphasize the need to respect the game and opponents.

Earlier this week, New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie described New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with a derogatory term. New York will visit New England on Sunday in the final divisional-round playoff game this weekend.

Then Jets linebacker Bart Scott had a message for Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who used 11 foot references during a news conference Thursday. The foot mentions were a subtle shot at Jets coach Rex Ryan, who has declined to discuss a "foot-fetish" report earlier this season.

"Be very careful what you say about our coach," Scott told *Newsday* on Friday. "His (Welker's) days in a uniform will be numbered. Put it like that."

Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs wore a T-shirt with a Raven on it extending a middle finger. Suggs said he was "representing" Baltimore as it headed to Saturday's playoff game at Pittsburgh.

In the second meeting of the regular season between the AFC North rivals, the Ravens broke Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's nose -- accidentally -- on a hit by nose tackle Haloti Ngata.

"I was glad we broke his nose," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said with a wry grin this week, "and I was very impressed he played through it. Obviously, you can throw very effectively with a broken nose. He proved that."

Although Harbaugh was kidding, the comment did rankle some people in Pittsburgh, and perhaps elsewhere around the league.

Ryan mentioned this week that players need to dislike their opponents at this time of year.

"You shouldn't like who you are going up against right now," he said. "This is the playoffs. I can tell you our whole team respects Brady and the Patriots. But hey, we don't like any of them right now. You shouldn't. (Former Jets running back) Danny Woodhead is a great kid, but I can't stand Danny Woodhead right now.

"I think that's just part of it, and trust me, the feeling is mutual."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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