BOURBONNAIS – if the first two days of training camp are any indication, the Bears may need a night of s’mores around a campfire singing choruses of “Kumbaya.”
Two days, two dust-ups between teammates, and this is with no pads and decidedly limited hitting.
On Saturday, the day after bantamweights Eric Weems and Sherrick McManis mixed it up mid-practice, it was the heavyweights’ turn. Defensive end Lamarr Houston sustained his rush of Jay Cutler just a little longer than right tackle Jordan Mills liked. Or was it Mills blocking too enthusiastically after the ball was gone?
Whoever was to blame, or neither, the two began a fight that drew a few teammates into the mix, just as their previous bout did during a non-contact OTA. And it created considerable excitement in an overflow crowd, to the point that “we’re going to start charging to get in here,” coach Marc Trestman joked.
But the intrasquad battling was no joke for Trestman or for the Bears. A squabble like Saturday’s, with either player doing that kind of battle with an opponent, would have cost both in fine money as well as an ejection.
Guard Kyle Long, who remains out of practice recovering from a viral infection, drew a personal-foul penalty and fine of $7,875 for fighting during last season’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
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“The bottom line is, when we talk about it in meetings, fighting is a disciplinary issue,” Trestman said. “We would’ve lost both players; if it was a game, we would’ve lost both players.
“And it’s a safety issue. The guys who were involved in it were both remorseful and they don’t want it to happen. They know how it hurts a football team. The thing you like to see is that it didn’t linger. The team got back to work, there were no other altercations and I thought overall, when you have 99 percent of your practice that is cooperative with this kind of intensity, even though we are in shorts and not in pads, that’s the way we sell it to guys, that one play can lose players and it’s a safety issue.”