Broncos Players React to Training Camp Melee

Emmanuel Sanders

Getty Emmanuel Sanders

The brawl between Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton grabbed headlines, but not the sustained attention of their Denver Broncos teammates.

“It must not have been that distracting because I didn’t even know. But I heard about it later,” outside linebacker Bradley Chubb told reporters following Monday’s practice, before rationalizing the fisticuffs that brought Broncos training camp to a screeching halt. “[Do] you have a brother? Do all of you have brothers? You all have brothers. I have an older brother I use to bug the hell out of. He used to hit me, I use to hit him, we used to fight back and forth. It’s just what brothers do. We’ve been around each other for what 15, 20 days now? You probably get tired of seeing somebody’s face. It’s all that brotherhood. But at the end of the day, we still love each other. We’re still going to come together and do things for the [good] of the team.”

Sanders and Sutton, they of the same depth chart, had to be separated on at least two occasions Monday, with teammates such as Joe Flacco forced to intervene. Punches were thrown and expletives yelled in what may be a power struggle between a prideful veteran and an ascending sophomore.

It remains unclear what exactly set off the sparks, and the truth is likely to be buried to some extent. Neither Sanders nor Sutton were made available to the media after practice, with both quickly exiting the field.

Welcome to the dog days of August.

“It happens. We are all competitors. It’s going to get a little chippy out here sometimes,” said cornerback Kareem Jackson. “It could be with a guy on the same side as you, but at the end of the day it’s all about talking the issue out and moving on from it. You can learn from it and move on from it. Like I said, we are all competitors out here, were going to compete at a high level as much as we can each and every day, and sometimes, it can get a little heated, but that’s just how it is. At the end of the day, it’s for us to put behind us as a team and for those two guys also. We’ve still got to come out here and get our work done and continue to progress as a team.”

Fangio Expectedly Displeased

“Obviously it’s not good” were Broncos coach Vic Fangio’s opening remarks during his post-practice presser. He was unsurprisingly upset about the Broncos succumbing to death by inches — shooting themselves in the collective foot with unnecessary blunders.

“Can’t happen, shouldn’t happen, but you have to be able to react to these things and handle them the right way,” he added.

Fangio handled the situation by twice calling the entire squad to midfield for a verbal tongue-lashing, which re-gathered the players’ focus.

“The first time was in reaction to the poor first-team period highlighted by that fight and then the second time I was just telling them that we were going to go into crowd noise,” he said. “They didn’t know we were doing that and I wanted to alert them to that.”

Conflict Resolution

What was specifically uttered by Fangio in those gatherings isn’t for public consumption, but Jackson peeled back the curtain to expose his coach’s message.

In it, Fangio essentially ordered Sanders and Sutton to bury the hatchet, raw as their feelings still may have been.

“It started out kind of slow,” Jackson said. “He kind of addressed that and addressed the issue between those guys and made them kiss and make up. It was alright after that. I’m sure they are fine.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL.