NAPA – Right defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. and left guard Kelechi Osemele locked horns early in Saturday’s Raiders practice and ended up rolling to the ground. That’s when things got serious.
Edwards Jr. ended up in dominant position and threw some intense punches. The feature players were separated after that dust-up – the Raiders were in full pads -- but started another one just a few minutes later.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio had seen enough. He ejected Edwards Jr. and Osemele for fighting, a team spokesman confirmed. Both players spent the most aftermath in the weight room, though they watched practice’s tail end from the sideline.
Del Rio wasn’t scheduled to speak with the media on Saturday and hasn’t commented on the incident, but it’s well known he frowns on intra-squad fighting.
Left tackle Donald Penn played peacemaker right after the ejection, speaking with Osemele and Edwards Jr. separately to help diffuse the tension.
Edwards Jr. had a hand wrapped immediately after the exchange, though it looked fine later in the day.
Osemele has been involved in a few skirmishes since joining the team, and is known for being an aggressive, physical player.
Tavecchio receives praise: Special teams coordinator Brad Seely said there’s competition between kickers Sebastian Janikowski and Giorgio Tavecchio, though it’s clear the incumbent is a heavy, heavy favorite.
Seely praised Tavecchio’s work this offseason and in training camp.
”Giorgio is a guy that, he’s an NFL kicker,” Seely said. “Will he kick for us? Well that remains to be seen, but it’s a competition and we’re seeing who’s the best. Obviously, Sebastian has done this for a long time and has been really good. Obviously, he’s the front-runner going in. The other guy is always… It’s like a heavy weight championship fight, you have to knock him out if you’re going to take his job.”
Catch of the day: K.J. Brent created separation from cornerback Neiko Thorpe and went deep. Rookie Connor Cook sent a long, arching pass down the left sideline that Brent caught over his shoulder for a huge gain. It easily ranks among the best passes Cook has thrown this camp.
Jones doesn’t finish: Raiders running back Taiwan Jones returned after missing two practices, but the comeback was short-lived. He was removed from action and watched the end of practice from the sideline, without pads. Jones remains a frontrunner to return kickoffs.
Other notes from Raiders practice:
-- WR Seth Roberts has seen significant snaps lately, working as the first-team slot receiver and on the outside with the second unit. That’s where he made a late adjustment while double covered to bring in a Matt McGloin pass.
-- NT Justin Ellis continued his strong camp with another positive showing up front, especially in rushing drills. His role could be crucial if the Raiders feature a nose tackle as they have during this camp.
-- The Raiders hosted a group of 50 Special Olympics athletes and their coaches in a private section for Saturday’s training camp practice.
-- WR Michael Crabtree is having a productive, although quiet training camp. He made several nice grabs on slants and inside routes against top defensive backs.
-- TE Colton Underwood, who has missed most of camp with injury, did extensive side work on Saturday.
Daily transactions: None
Returned to practice: RB Taiwan Jones (DNF)
Did not practice: DL Leon Orr, TE Colton Underwood
Next practice: The Raiders will practice in pads on Sunday morning, the final stretch of an intense five day stretch. They have an off day scheduled for Monday.