It could be the pressure surrounding the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles. It could be the intensity at practices, as hitting is here to stay for the next few weeks. Or it could be the hot sun that makes afternoon practices almost unbearable for the players.
But for whatever reason, the players on the Eagles are a lot more physical with each other this year. Last year, I remember there being two fights at training camp. They came on back-to-back days and they were brief.
This year, there’s been more than that already. The latest came in Monday’s afternoon practice as wide receiver DeSean Jackson mixed it up with cornerback Brandon Hughes.
The scuffle happened after Hughes broke up a pass intended for Jackson during 11 on 11 drills. I didn’t see the scuffle but a few punches were reportedly thrown, although none landed squarely.
Intern coach Greg Lewis (yes, the former Eagles wide receiver) had to restrain Jackson, who was extremely agitated about the incident.
“I’m a starter on this team and I’m one of the leaders,” Jackson said. “Don’t want to cause anything, you know, me getting hurt. [Lewis] didn’t want anything stupid to happen and have me be out for the year. We just have to be smart with things like that. He didn’t want me getting hurt. It’s football and it’s part of the game.”
CSNPhilly speculated that the fight had been brewing since a few plays earlier when Jackson caught a pass and completely juked Hughes out.
After practice, Jackson addressed the fight.
“I don’t worry about that,” Jackson said. “It’s a part of football and a part of training camp. You obviously can’t do that during real games. You’re out on the field, it’s real intense in the heat, tired, the whole nine.”
Hughes had the following to say: “I’m not talking about that [expletive],” he said.
Head coach Andy Reid wasn’t too annoyed about the incident. “Boys are going to be boys,” Reid said. “We’re not here to be MMA, that’s not what we are, or boxers. We’re football players, but we’re around each other so much and things are going to happen. I just don’t want them to happen very much.”
Personally, I love fights in training camp. I think it’s great for players to get their aggression out. The coaches love it too. You know they do. Even the players probably enjoy them somewhat.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.