The Redskins practiced Saturday afternoon for the sixth consecutive day. The days are long and hot, and players are pushing through fatigue.
Tempers finally boiled over under those conditions Saturday. Center Will Montgomery and linebacker London Fletcher shoved each other after a play and had to be separated by teammates. And that was just the undercard.
Moments later, receiver Niles Paul and linebacker Markus White - each a member of last year’s draft class - landed punches during a skirmish that began when White blocked Paul following an interception by free safety Tanard Jackson.
“I definitely feel I went too far,” Paul said. “It shouldn’t have went to that level at all. I should have been a bigger man and just let that go. But it’s hot out here and I just kind of snapped.”
Paul wasn’t just throwing sucker punches. He landed some serious closed-fisted blows into White’s helmet.
Coach Mike Shanahan stopped practice after the fights to emphasize the importance of poise.
“You can’t do that in the game,” Paul said. “You can’t afford to have a penalty or I’m done for a couple games.”
“You’ve got to keep your poise,” White said. “For the team’s sake, you don’t want no penalties. Fifteen yards is a big deal in the NFL.”
Afterwards, both players said there are no hard feelings.
“That’s my boy,” White said of Paul. “I don’t have no problems with him. A lot of times brothers get in fights, cousins get in fight, and when you kind of be like, ‘It’s cool. Whatever happened, happened,’ and you move on, that’s the maturity of a professional player.”
“Me and Markus are good friends; that’s why I didn’t understand why he tried to de-cleat me,” Paul said. “We don’t have a problem now. It’s just on the field stuff happens.”