JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson briefly attempted to climb the railings to confront a fan during an ugly ending to Sunday's 30-24 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jefferson was running off the field after being ejected when a drink was thrown at him from the stands. He turned back and began arguing with fans who were wearing clothes with Jaguars logos.
When more drinks were thrown at him, including one that nearly hit his head, Jefferson rushed toward the railing and began climbing it. A member of the Seahawks' equipment staff pulled him off. Several other Seahawks staffers escorted him into the tunnel.
"Folks in the stands was throwing beer and throwing soda, whatever. I mean, I don't know what I'm supposed to do," said Jefferson, a second-year player. "I'm a human just like anybody else. I'm a man just like the other man in the stands. I'm not going to let somebody disrespect me, throw a beer on me.
"Just because I'm playing football, I'm still a human being. I'm still a man. I'm out there playing a game, and at the end of the day, it's a game, and I'm a man. I'm not going to let somebody disrespect me like that."
Asked if he felt it was right to attempt to go into the stands, Jefferson responded: "I don't know. Was it the right call for him to throw beer on me? I'm just wondering if it was the right call for him to throw a beer on me. Just saying."
Seahawks defensive lineman Jarran Reed wrote on Twitter that Jefferson was called the N-word during the sideline incident.
The episode occurred during a heated finish to the game. It included fights on consecutive plays as Jacksonville was kneeling to run out the clock and Seattle's defensive linemen continued their rush at full strength.
After the first play, Seahawks defensive Michael Bennett and Jaguars center Brandon Linder wrestled each other on the ground. Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette shoved Bennett during the ensuing melee. Those two were also flagged for unnecessary roughness while Seattle's Sheldon Richardson was ejected for throwing a punch.
It isn't clear what Jefferson did to earn an ejection on the following play.
"It's just bulls---," Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis said. "There's no room in the game for that. You see we're kneeling. You can get somebody hurt. We're out there trying to kneel, there's no timeouts, you guys can't stop the clock. Like, why try to hurt somebody?"
Lewis added: "We had 60 minutes to handle that. The last 30 seconds while we're kneeling, you're going to spear somebody in the legs? That's not cool."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll ran all the way to the middle of the field after the second fight, which he said was to "make a statement to our guys so we didn't finish with any more garbage happening out there." Carroll received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for running onto the field. He said he realized the game was decided by that point.
"It's really unfortunate how it ended, you know, with everyone getting scrapping and all that at the end because we had a chance to get the ball back, and unfortunately, we couldn't work that out properly," Carroll said. "We have to be more poised than that. It was a very difficult finish. We had a shot."
The ejections of Jefferson and Richardson brought the NFL's 2017 total to 15, the most in a single season since at least 2001.
Bennett cut off Jefferson's interview with reporters in the locker room and angrily dismissed them.
"The man was disrespected," Bennett said. "People threw food on him. He's not an animal, he's a human being, so get out of here. How would you like it if one of your kids was playing sports and somebody threw beer on him? Exactly. So don't come in with that s--- then."
Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye took exception to how Seattle's defensive players handled themselves.
"I don't know what it was, but like I said, we played with a chip on our shoulder," Bouye said. "You can't sit here and talk trash and then next thing you know saying you're going to beat us by 50, but then we hitting you in the mouth, and you want to just fight. Like, the game's already over. I ain't got no problem against them. I don't know them as a man, but certain things are just uncalled for. We're playing football. We're in between the lines. You don't have to take it outside of that. We're grown men, but I'm proud of the guys being smart and not making it worse than what it was."
Seattle defensive end Frank Clark defended how the Seahawks' defensive linemen continued to play hard by firing off their stances with the Jaguars in victory formation.
"There was still time left on the clock, so of course we're taught to play until the clock hits triple-zeroes, and that's exactly what we was doing, basically," Clark said. "We don't take plays off, so if we see an opportunity to go and get the ball back, that's basically what we was doing. It turned into a lot more than what we hoped for, but at the end of the day, we've got each other's back, and that's what it comes down to: who's got each other's back, and we've got ours."
Information from ESPN's Kevin Seifert and Michael DiRocco was used in this report.