RICHMOND—Sometimes an action doesn’t always create a reaction right away. It can take some time.
On Friday, Redskins rookie running back Matt Jones ploughed over rookie Texans defensive back Kevin Johnson at the end of a run down the sideline in full team work during the teams’ joint practice session. The play drew cheers from the Redskins on the field but apparently the Texans weren’t too happy about it.
It looks like they got their revenge about 48 hours later. A low hit on Redskins running back precipitated a brawl that involved dozens of players and spread over two football fields.
Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said that some Houston coaches told him that the Jones incident was indeed the spark for the melee, which caused Jay Gruden and Texans coach Bill O’Brien to decide to call off the rest of the planned joint practice. The teams worked on separate fields for about another hour with Redskins only going up against other Redskins on one field with Texans vs. Texans on the other.
“Tempers flared. I don’t know who started what,” said Gruden. “We tried as a staff and both coach O’Brien and myself tried to make it clear that wasn’t acceptable behavior. Unfortunately, it wasn’t two people, it was a group of men. It escalated very quickly and for whatever reason it escalated into a nasty brawl so we separated the teams and just finished practice on our own.”
There was a total of three skirmishes. Two broke out on the field where the Redskins’ offense was going up against the Houston defense. Then a third erupted on an adjacent field where it was Washington defense vs. Texans offense.
“Initially we had a couple on the offensive field and I was just going to cut that period out and have everybody go to the side, have everybody cool down and then finish practice,” said Gruden. “But then the other one broke out on the other field and it wasn’t worth it. Injuries take place and obviously it wasn’t a great situation.”
Texans coach Bill O’Brien wrote it off as one of those things that happens. “It’s training camp, you know,” he said. “It’s intense out there and that’s just what happens.”
Both coaches agreed that they got a lot out of the last few days and lamented that the work had to be cut short.
Most Redskins players also wrote it off as one of those things that happens. “It didn’t help us, just practice-wise, we lost some time,” said Redskins receiver Andre Roberts, who appeared to be in the middle of the initial fight. “It is what it is, it happened, and it’s over now.”
The fighting may be over but the incident could live on for a while. The Texans are the featured team on the HBO series Hard Knocks and as with everything else that happens involving the team the cameras were rolling. The fights and the aftermath are certain to get some play in an upcoming edition of the show.
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