Dez Bryant was the center of attention for fans, too. (Gus Ruelas / AP)

The Dallas Cowboys were fussin’ and feudin’ Sunday ahead of their first preseason game Thursday night.

Wide receiver Dez Bryant and safety J.J. Wilcox mixed it up during practice after Wilcox lowered a shoulder and smashed into him as he caught a pass from Tony Romo. Bryant went after Wilcox, who threw a punch — and drew a gaggle of offensive players, who pounced on the opportunity for a little pushing and shoving.

“I got a good little cheap shot in,” Wilcox said afterward (via the Dallas Morning News’ Cowboys blog). “That’s the spark you need. I am trying to feed off it and get my defense right.”

The episode sparked after Bryant was taunting the defense whenever the offense did something well. He admitted that the Wilcox hit ticked him off, but added “at the end of the day, I loved it. I told him, ‘Keep it coming.’ Hopefully the rest of the guys on that defense – not only the defense, but the offense and the whole team – feed off of that. That’s what it takes to win. That’s what we need to win. You’ve got to have that passion and that love for the game.”

In news peripherally related to Bryant, Romo said he doesn’t expect to play in the first preseason game.

“We’re talking about it, but most likely I’ll probably sit out the San Diego game and play in Game 2 and go from there,” Romo, who is recovering from back surgery, said Sunday. Romo has been taking every third day off during training camp.

Game 2 is Aug. 16 against the Baltimore Ravens.

“I feel good,” Romo said. “Like I said before, I feel good but you’ve got to go do it and feel how it is and you adjust and all that stuff.”