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Sterling Shepard, Troy Hill exchange punches in post-practice fracas

Mike Florio and Charean Williams discuss the large number of fights during preseason joint practices and if the NFL is doing anything to prevent them.

After a full-team fracas earlier this month, Giants coach Joe Judge made it clear to his team he has a zero tolerance policy for fighting during practice. His players apparently got the message, waiting until a joint practice with the Browns ended to have a dust-up.

An Associated Press photographer captured Giants receiver Sterling Shepard and Browns cornerback Troy Hill exchanging punches after the teams had cleared the field, Zack Rosenblatt of NJ Advance Media reports. Video footage on social media shows Giants receiver John Ross separating Shepard and Hill, lifting Shepard off the ground to get him away from Hill. Giants offensive lineman Matt Peart stood in front of Hill to keep him away from Shepard.

Shepard angrily took off his shirt and walked toward team busses alongside Giants receiver Darius Slayton, per Rosenblatt. Before boarding, though, Shepard conducted a news conference with beat writers who cover the team.

The media, unaware of the fight at the time they interviewed Shepard, asked Shepard whether he was surprised the teams didn’t fight during practice.

“No, it’s friendly competition,” Shepard said, via Rosenblatt. “That’s what we came out here for. It’s competition. It’s going to get into a talking match; it’s going to get physical out there. This is football. This is what we do. They understand that on that side; we understand that over here.”

The Giants brawled among themselves early in training camp after safety Logan Ryan hit tight end Evan Engram from behind post-play. That led Judge to force his players to run gassers and do 30 push-ups twice as punishment.

At the time, Shepard said he supported Judge’s discipline efforts.

The Giants and Browns play a preseason game Sunday.