Things took a turn for the chippy Monday in Dove Valley.
According to multiple reports, Denver Broncos wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton were involved in at least two scuffles during the team’s open training camp practice.
It remains unclear what exactly set off the melee, which lasted minutes and saw several punches — as well as water bottles — thrown. Teammates, including starting quarterback Joe Flacco, intervened while the pass-catchers continued jawing at each other.
Once emotions cooled, head coach Vic Fangio called the entire squad to midfield, likely chastizing them for the incident, before resuming practice.
It’s been an intense day at the office for Denver, who scored a comeback victory in last week’s preseason-opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
Preceding the initial fight between Sanders and Sutton was a rare display of outward emotion from star running back Phillip Lindsay after the offense committed a false start.
“Let’s go!” he was heard screaming in the huddle.
While training camp brawls are not uncommon, particularly as the dog days of August take hold, Fangio detests what he describes as “death-by-inches.” In other words, any self-inflicted wound or major gaffe that can otherwise be avoided.
He made this clear at the onset of camp, when defensive end Derek Wolfe and offensive lineman Connor McGovern were involved in a fracas that ended with Wolfe chucking McGovern’s helmet down the field.
“I do [mind],” he said July 25. “We talked about it. I don’t like it. There’s no need for it. We need to refrain from that and we’ve talked about it.”
Sanders and Sutton are both projected as starting receivers for the Broncos. The former is returning from Achilles’ surgery while the latter is widely pegged as a 2019 breakout candidate in his sophomore campaign.
Power struggle, perhaps?
Fangio Impressed by Broncos’ Stamina
Although he hands out compliments like Freddy Krueger hands out pleasant dreams, the old ball coach noted the club’s positive response to their inaugural preseason action, as Denver turned in a solid (if lengthy) practice.
“It was good,” he said Sunday. “We gave them two days off which is good. They needed it then we were ready to come out and have a hard practice. This practice here we might have had the most plays that we’ve had in any practice. I haven’t seen the total yet, but I thought they practiced well.”
Something tells me Fangio won’t be so quick with praise Monday.
This won’t help …
Fangio’s poor body. The 61-year-old admirably gutted through the Hall of Fame Game with a dreaded kidney stone inflicting obvious discomfort.
Initial reports Thursday claimed that Fangio passed the stone. Remarkably, though, it remains lodged in his organ, slowly working its way out.
“It’s still in there. It’s kind of moody,” he said Sunday. “It acts up sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t. During practice today it was fine. Yesterday afternoon it wasn’t so fine so it’s kind of moody.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL.