Denver wide receiver Vance Johnson says Raider cornerback Lester Hayes tried to "gouge out" his eyes early in the Broncos' 38-36 victory Sunday at Mile High Stadium.
But Hayes denies the allegation.
"I did not go for his eyes," Hayes said. "I was actually trying to get a speck of dust off his eyebrow."
Johnson said Hayes nearly blinded him, which he said was more upsetting than the knee injury he suffered later in the game that will put him out for six weeks.
"The main thing that happened was what Lester did to my eye," Johnson said. "That was the worst thing that happened through the whole day. I think that's terrible. I mean, the guy is a great athlete. Why does he have to pull my eye out so I can't see John (Elway) throw me the ball? I was really disappointed in that."
Johnson said he cut-blocked Hayes, taking the Raider out at the knees, on the second play of the game. He said Hayes "turned me over and started gouging my eye out. You can see, as a result, what happened to my eye. That's how it got cut up. He was trying to gouge my eye out with his fingernails.
"I said to him, 'Look what you did to my eye,' and he apologized. He said, 'Stay high in your blocks.' I said, 'You want me to stay high in my blocks? Look what you did to my eye.' That was the end of the conversation. It was bleeding bad. I was blind in this eye, darned near. I couldn't see. Everything was really blurry in that eye the whole time I was playing. And the refs didn't even throw a flag."
But Hayes told the Denver Post: "Vance Johnson is telling an out-and-out lie. I am a gentle Texas A&M Aggie, and I would never gouge his eyes out. I am very fond of Vance Johnson. There is a pregame pact that states the receivers do not 'cut' me and I will not jam them in their face area. Vance did deliberately cut me with a very, very dangerous block. He went for my knee with his helmet, and I didn't appreciate that."