The Cleveland Browns and New York Giants ended their second joint practice with a fight — something both sides had been vocal about avoiding.
Browns cornerback Troy Hill and Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard came to blows on the practice field. Hill was still in his pads and uniform while Shephard had his jersey off.
The video came after photos had emerged from the scrap, courtesy of Cleveland.com photographer Joshua Gunter.
The fight caught quite a few people off guard because it happened post-practice — not in the middle of a heated play like most fights that occur when teams come together for some reps. In fact, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski had not heard about the incident as he started talking with reporters.
“That is news to me. Thank you for breaking that to me,” Stefanski said. “I’ll review the tape.”
Hill’s Hard Tackles Led to Tension With Shepard
Shepard and Hill went at it multiple times during the practice, with Hill delivering a couple of solid hits on Shephard.
It was a testy day on the turf in Berea in general, with the tensions rising between the squads throughout the afternoon. Stefanski jumped in the middle of a few heated situations.
“Just wanted to make sure we finished it strong and finished it smart,” Stefanski said. “It was hotter today, obviously down in the red zone there is condensed space so the intensity was raised and that’s OK.
“It’s football. It’s a physical game and it’s an emotional game, but I was pleased with how the guys kept that in check.”
Shephard told reporters that it was just “friendly competition” out there between the sides.
“No, it was a friendly competition,” Shepard said. “That’s what we came here for is competition. It’s gonna get into a talking match. It’s gonna get physical out there. This is football. This is what we do. They understand that on our side. We understand it over there.”
Giants, Browns Had Been Warned About Fighting
The Giants have had their issues with fights this season, even internally. A fight between Giants players ended with quarterback Daniel Jones on the bottom of the pile, something his coach was not happy about. Giants coach Joe Judge disciplined the whole team for the incident at the start of the month.
“Listen, there are a lot of different ways to approach things. In terms of fights, my policy has been to get guys and get them out of practice. So that happened. It involved the entire team. I threw the entire team out of practice,” Judge said. “We had more ball to go. We had two more periods of practice. We had things to accomplish. Those were things that robbed us of an opportunity to keep preparing and robbed players reps and go compete.”
Prior to the joint practices, both sides were adamant that fighting was not something that would be condoned.
“We didn’t fly across the country to get into a fistfight,” Judge told reporters on Thursday.
The team’s now face off Sunday in what should be an entertaining matchup. However, most key starters will likely sit, with both teams looking to the third preseason game as a possible tuneup.
In fact, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield joked about getting in a fight so he could see some preseason action.
“Coach said if I start a fight at practice I have to play, so me and Saquon might swing today,” Mayfield joked prior to practice.