The slugfest that erupted between wide receiver Andre Roberts and rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland during Redskins practice this week could have been interpreted as a sign of friction on a losing team’s roster.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said he thought it was “great.” And veteran safety Ryan Clark dismissed it as not surprising, within the context of hotly contested situations between teammates pitted against each other.

“I’m different; I’m a coach,” Haslett said, asked what he made of the fracas three days after Washington dropped to 3-10 with its fifth consecutive loss, a 24-0 shutout. “I like the competitiveness that came out. I thought it was great, from the standpoint they both were competing. It was a great play by Bashaud.”

Breeland was defending Roberts and successfully broke up on a deep throw from quarterback Colt McCoy as both players tumbled to the turf. After each got up, words were exchanged, helmets were flung off and a flurry of punches flew.

A handful of teammates, Clark included, stepped in to break it up.

Clark said later that he would have considered letting Roberts and Breeland fight it out if reporters and TV cameras hadn’t been present. But he stepped in, worried how it might come across.

“You don’t want those kind of things being put out because people who haven’t been in that position don’t understand,” Clark said. “They see it as two guys who don’t like each other or it’s a problem with the team. No.”

A 15-year NFL veteran, Clark said he had been involved in dust-ups during practice.

“It’s something that happens; tempers flare,” Clark said. “Guys are competitors. Stupid things are said, because we’re men and we’re prideful and we have egos. … Sometimes for men, we’re not smart enough to figure out other ways to solve our problems, so we solve ’em by seeing who has got the fastest hands. That’s just part of it.”

Said Haslett: “I just thought it was competitive spirit, which is kind of nice to have.”

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