Things got a little chippy at the Redskins' eighth practice of training camp.
Midway through Saturday's session, two scuffles broke out within minutes of each other. Middle linebacker London Fletcher and center Will Montgomery got into a shoving match and had to be separated from each other. Fletcher managed to pull Montgomery's helmet off.
A few plays later, backup tight end Niles Paul and backup linebacker Markus White fought at the end of a play. Paul had his helmet yanked off by White and then got the linebacker, who still wore his helmet, into a headlock and threw several punches before being separated.
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan stopped the practice, huddled his players and addressed them.
Practice resumed, and there were no additional scuffles.
Fletcher and Montgomery didn’t comment on their scuffle. White and Paul, meanwhile, described the incident as a mix between a misunderstanding and a heat-of-battle moment.
“We got an interception, and I went to throw a block, and that's about it,” White said. “Little confrontation. That's not real painful, getting hit with your helmet on. It was just a little confrontation.”
Said Paul, “I’m expected to keep my poise a little better, but what happened is I thought [linebacker Lorenzo Alexander] had already cracked back on me and tagged me off, so I stopped pursuing the ball and I see – I don’t know who it was at the time -- but I see a man running at me at full speed and about to take me out, so I defended myself. I realized I had to keep my poise, but I just kind of snapped.”
Paul and White — both second-year players — said that they have a good relationship, and that the situation had already been resolved.
“Brothers get in fights, cousins get in fights, and when you do, it’s like, ‘It’s cool,’ and whatever happens, happens, and you go about your business,” White said. “That’s the mark of a professional player.”
Shanahan wasn’t overly concerned by the tussles, but said that he told his players that they do have to maintain their professionalism.
“You love to see guys that are competitive every time, but you can’t have guys lose their poise, because it will cost you a football game,” Shanahan said. “I tried to share that with the guys: that they always say the guy that doesn’t get the cheap shot [in], but retaliates, that’s usually the guy that gets the penalty. And things like that happen every game, and if you react and don’t keep your poise, it can cost you the game. I’ve had that happen to me many times. So, it’s a good learning lesson …”
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