The New York Giants and Cleveland Browns weren't going to fight.
Head coaches Joe Judge and Kevin Stefanski didn't agree to joint practices so the teams could fight.
The Giants and Browns leadership councils met and told their respective teammates that they "didn't cross the country to fight."
So of course there was a fight.
Photographers captured wide receiver Sterling Shepard and CB Troy Hill squaring up and throwing hands after the teams' joint practice on Friday.
A look at the square up between Browns CB Troy Hill and Giants WR Sterling Shepard. Photos: Joshua Gunter, https://t.co/bZO8B8L2qj #Browns pic.twitter.com/od1Xou4POb— clevelanddotcom (@clevelanddotcom) August 20, 2021
Was anyone hurt?
As with the big brawl before last week’s preseason game, that’s my first question. The last thing we want to see is a player knocked out because tempers flared. I would have preferred that the joint practices between teams be (relatively) uneventful and end with both teams working to make themselves better against uncommon competition.
But this is football and fights happen.
It’s August, temperatures are high and tempers have a way of running higher. Somebody is bound to say, or do, something to someone that just sets them off. And at least when it happened neither man was wearing pads (that’s the one that always gets me. Why try to punch a dude wearing armor?)
The one bit I’m just a smidge concerned about is that as the most-senior member of the Giants, Sterling Shepard is almost certainly on the Giants’ leadership council. As difficult as it is to imagine, the receiver drafted in 2016 is the team’s longest tenured player and has been with the franchise longer than most of the coaching staff (save assistant Special Teams coach Tom Quinn).
Camp scuffles are going to happen. But if the message was for the team to avoid fisticuffs and just work to get better, Shepard should have been The Guy carrying that message to his teammates — not the first and only guy to throw punches.
But still, it’s August. Camp fights happen and at least Shepard showed the good sense to get out of the way of the punch aimed at his jaw.