By John Boyle
It’s normal to see teammates get into scuffles at an NFL training camp. Players are going at it day after day against the same opponent, the pads are on so things get physical—it’s just a part of football.
But fighting in a June minicamp? That’s not something you see too often, yet it’s exactly what happened on Day 2 of the Seahawks’ three-day minicamp.
The trouble started when receiver Bryan Walters hurt himself (it appeared to be a shoulder injury when he and Earl Thomas went to the ground going after a ball). That led to some jawing between receivers and defensive backs. On the next play Richard Sherman was lined up across from Phil Bates and the two got tied up at the line of scrimmage and went to the ground with Bates losing his helmet. He took a swing at Sherman, and the two traded a few blows before several teammates got involved and eventually separated the two. At another point, Doug Baldwin and Thomas had to separated in what was a very intense practice session.
Following the scuffle, Pete Carroll brought the whole team together to tell his team “just to remember that we’re a family,” according to receiver Paul Richardson.
From there, there was plenty of trash talk, but otherwise a mostly trouble-free practice. At one point Sherman and Bates hugged things out while still jawing back and forth, leading to Russell Wilson coming over to say something to Sherman that had the cornerback laughing. Later Sherman and Percy Harvin playfully reenacted the scuffle with Bates, and it was pretty evident by the end of practice that everyone was cool with each other.
“At the end of the day, we’re teammates,” Thomas said. “We know each other well now, we know how to get under each other’s skin, and there’s going to be practices like that. But you love practices like this, because everybody’s in it, everybody’s trying to execute well, and everybody’s trying to prove the other person wrong.”
Thomas said he wasn’t surprised to see things become heated, even if it is only June: “It’s not surprising to me. This could happen in any practice, whether it’s in the season or not. I just think we’re all so competitive, if you press one wrong button, everybody will clear the benches.”
In non-fighting news…
—CB Byron Maxwell had the play of the day, a leaping one-handed interception to take a catch away from Ricardo Lockette. Asked about Maxwell’s big play, Thomas said, “It was more than big, it was pretty, one-handed catch.”
—Sherman and Thomas got in on the interception action as well, both doing so after the scuffle, and as you might expect, they let the offense hear about it.
“Anytime that we talk, especially in the back end, we always back it up,” Thomas said. “We’re going to make it hard for whoever we play. You can even ask Russell that.”
—WR Paul Richardson, who is back in action after missing a good portion of OTAs, continues to impress, and had a long touchdown catch Wednesday.
—Rookie DE Cassius Marsh, who had to miss OTAs because of college graduation rules—this is oversimplifying a bit, but players who go to quarter schools that graduate late can’t be at OTAs—was disruptive as a pass rusher, recording at least one sack that I noticed. Marsh really stood out in rookie minicamp, but seeing him still have the ability to get into the backfield against better competition is a good sign.