Veteran Bills WR Fights Safety at Training Camp; Punches Thrown

Siran Neal

Getty Siran Neal of the Buffalo Bills.

Tempers continue to flare at Buffalo Bills training camp, with a pair of new fights between teammates on Monday after a headline-grabbing dust-up over the weekend.

Wide receiver Tavon Austin and safety Siran Neal reportedly got into a fight during the August 1 morning practice, with WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio reporting that punches were thrown during the brief scuffle. Edge rusher Boogie Basham and offensive lineman Alec Anderson were also involved in the fight, though all players were separated before it got out of hand, he reported.

The tensions came just two days after quarterback Josh Allen was involved in his own fracas, though the franchise quarterback later took to Twitter to downplay the incident.

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More Trouble at Training Camp

The fights came during the second practice at St. John Fisher University where players wore pads after the team opened the first week of training camp with only light contact. The August 1 fight involved a number of players, with Austin and Neal reportedly sparking the tensions.

“We’ve got our first real fight of camp. Plenty of punches thrown,” tweeted WKBW’s Matt Bove. “Looked like Basham was in the middle of it. Couldn’t see who was on the other end.”

Some insiders believe that Austin is on the roster bubble as the team approaches the first preseason games. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia noted in early July that the team was very deep at wide receiver, with Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis at the top. Isaiah McKenzie will be competing with free agent Jamison Crowder and rookie Khalil Shakir for slot targets, and Jake Kumerow is highly valued for his special teams play.

Buscaglia wrote that could leave Austin fighting with Isaiah Hodgins and Marquez Stevenson for a spot on the roster. He may need a strong showing in training camp and preseason games to tilt the scales in his favor.

“These six are close to locks, barring injury. You could make a case for Crowder or Kumerow being on the bubble based on their one-year contracts, but the team values Crowder’s experience and Kumerow’s special teams ability,” he wrote. “The most pressing debate will be if a seventh receiver can earn his way onto the roster; Stevenson, Hodgins and Austin will try their best to force the Bills to remove a number from a different position.”

Allen Downplays Previous Fight

The Bills had another dust-up at Saturday’s practice when Allen took a bump from defensive lineman Jordan Phillips while running a two-point conversion play. Allen turned and shoved Phillips, leading to a larger scuffle that prompted head coach Sean McDermott to intervene.

Allen explain the incident on Twitter the next day, saying it was a normal part of training camp.

Man I love football the boys got going yesterday, and it’s all love!” he wrote, adding an angry-face emoji. “First day of pads, just pushing each other to be great that is all!”

The Bills are facing some unusually high pressures as they open training camp. Many have pegged them as the top Super Bowl contenders, though the sting of last year’s heartbreaking playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs still lingers.

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