FOXBORO -- Bryan Stork was ejected from Patriots practice after throwing a straight right at the throat area of Bears linebacker John Timu that might have done some damage had it landed flush. The third-year center followed that up with a pair of two-handed shoves to Timu's chest before he was pulled away by Patriots receiver DeAndre Carter.
What did Timu do to cause the eruption? He leaned on Stork after a Patriots running play during 11-on-11 work was blown dead -- something that occurs often not only during these types of joint practices, but in regular-season games as well. Unless Timu made some kind of verbal threat, Stork's reaction was decidedly over-the-top.
Timu reacted in a way that indicated shock more than anger, and his passive response to Stork's aggression allowed him to remain at practice.
Stork may have been on edge given the events that led up to his outburst. During Monday's practice, Malcolm Butler and Alshon Jeffery were booted for getting into an altercation following an 11-on-11 rep. Then early in Tuesday's sesson, Bears defensive back Harold Jones-Quartey was kicked off the field for leveling Julian Edelman and starting a brief shoving match between the two teams.
Though there might have been an elevated emotional temperature at Tuesday's practice -- despite the fact that coach Bill Belichick said the team had "moved on" -- Stork has proven in the past that he doesn't need much of a nudge to lose his cool. He was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty during last season's AFC title game in Denver for head-butting an opponent. And against Kansas City in the Divisional Round, Stork appeared to throw a punch at a Chiefs player following a Tom Brady touchdown run.
Tuesday wasn't even the first workout from which Stork has been ejected this offseason. In the spring, he got into it with undrafted rookie defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton and both players were sent off.
For a team like the Patriots that prides itself on mental toughness and playing penalty-free, Stork's latest tantrum likely won't help him gain any ground in his battle with David Andrews for the No. 1 center job. Especially when the coaching staff takes a look at the film and sees what little prodding it took for Stork to lose control.