NFL training camp fights are all different, but special in their own ways. These are the things that make them entertaining.
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There’s nothing like a good NFL training camp fight. They can take place among teammates, opponents, coaches, fans, or whoever! And most times, somebody is getting embarrassed.
Not all training camp fights are created equal, and often devolve into just a minor scuffle. But there are pieces of every training camp fight that can be appreciated for what they bring to the table given the various circumstances.
We like training camp fights, but like Gucci Mane, we don’t promote violence.
Somebody gets embarrassed
It’s always embarrassing to get murked by another human being — that’s a given. But a player doesn’t have to get hands laid on him to get embarrassed.
Take the D.J. Swearinger/Terrelle Pryor kerfuffle on Tuesday. No punches were thrown, but a fake lunge from Swearinger towards Pryor had him shook to the core:
IT GOT REAL
MontaeNicholson wins his one-on-one rep vs. Terrelle Pryor &
JungleBoi_Swagg had some things to say & do after!! #SkinsCamp | #HTTR https://t.co/Bmc7aMykhx pic.twitter.com/FkTKuFWqL8
— Mitch B. (
MitchBrownTV3) August 14, 2018
After that moment, Pryor had a chance to fight Swearinger and didn’t. Whether Pryor would win that fight misses the point. The fear he showed, along with the howling from the rest of Swearinger’s teammates, would have been enough to get most other people to fight. Pryor chose the high road, which is admirable in its own way, but Washington’s players took the moment as a victory. (And yes, that’s petty, but that’s why we’re here).
Wasington players felt Pryor had it coming, too. They couldn’t put hands on Pryor when he was with the team in 2017, even when he would taunt them, and evidently that was frustrating. Washington LB Zach Brown said in June, “That’s going to be something right there. The boys are gonna have it out for
The two teams had been going at it on Monday as well.
This is the gas station wine version of a training camp fight. It’s not great, and you know you can do better. But it’s better than nothing, and still gives you a fix. Drink up!
One fighter is noticeably larger than the other
Sometimes size discrepancy makes a fight unfair, but we’re really just living for that one sweet “oh shit!” moment.
In 2017, Keenan Allen (6’2) flipped Nickell Robey-Coleman (5’8) like his first name and into the ground, starting the First Great Battle of Los Angeles:
Fight breaks out between #rams and #chargers. Missed first two solid punches thrown. pic.twitter.com/cwixj6YWBv
— Lisa Lane (
LisaLane_Sports) August 10, 2017
If the Chargers defense is in need of a safety, they could stick Allen in the defensive backfield. He’s tall for a DB, and if he’s not able to come down with the football, he can clearly make the tackle.
Two tanks are going at it
Before Albert Haynesworth stuck his cleats into flesh and got his bag, he was a rookie getting into fights at training camp. The 6’6, 320-pound Haynesworth and 6’5, 315-pound Zach Piller went at it for a couple of rounds.
This is something like a unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, at least you would think. Haynesworth got sent to the ground.
I’m not one to critique another person’s fighting technique, but the gentleman who is supposed to be keeping calm is punching this Batman fanatic in the head like he’s feverishly trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Don’t be those guys.
Capturing all of the above elements into a single training camp fight is difficult, and that’s the way it should be. That way a moment like the Swearinger-Pryor scuffle still counts for something, even if it doesn’t live up to a World War III brawl in Los Angeles, or a meme-y delight in Carolina.
Training camp and the NFL preseason often give us little more than false hope, bad football, and spicy takes. The fights during training camp are a reminder that players are feeling restless, too, and that we’re getting closer and closer to weekends filled with football for the next six months.