- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Redskins wide receiver Andre Roberts and cornerback Bashaud Breeland were involved in a physical confrontation during practice Wednesday morning.

Punches were thrown and the two players had to be separated by a number of teammates, including Ryan Clark, Ryan Grant and E.J. Biggers. The scuffle occurred after a pass intended for Roberts, and defended by Breeland, fell to the ground.

As Roberts and Breeland walked back across the field after the play, both players removed their helmets and began jawing at one another. They locked arms, and each player took at least one swing before other Redskins stepped in. After Clark pulled Roberts out of the scrum, Roberts shoved the veteran safety and flipped his hair back.

It is unclear what caused the confrontation, or which player instigated it. Roberts and Breeland each declined to comment in the locker room after practice.

Coach Jay Gruden described the confrontation as a product of a 3-10 season.

“You don’t want fights at practice, but guys are a little frustrated and things happen when football players are competing,” Gruden said. “I like the competitive nature of guys competing at practice, one-on-ones. We had some good competitive team drills today. But that [confrontation] was a rarity. That doesn’t happen very often, and we addressed it.”

While it was most likely not the first in-practice scuffle between Redskins players this season, it was the first such scuffle that occurred during the portion of practice open to the media. Reporters were escorted out of the team’s practice bubble shortly after the confrontation.

Tight end Niles Paul said fights are relatively frequent over the course of any NFL season and have occurred throughout his tenure in Washington.

“We’re all brothers. Brothers fight. Stuff like that happens,” Paul said. “It’s nothing that’s happening with the team. There’s fights all throughout the year. There’s fights in training camp. There’s been fights here since I got here.

“When you get 53 men out here competing, you’re bound to get a scuffle. Something’s bound to happen. And that just shows the competition level and intensity we bring to the field.”

In some ways, the scuffle was symbolic of the depths to which the Redskins have plunged after losing five consecutive games, including an embarrassing 24-0 loss against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. But others viewed the confrontation as a sign of life.

“I think that’s a sign of guys are frustrated that we lost, that guys are still competing, that guys want to get better,” quarterback Colt McCoy said. “We still have a lot to play for.”

• Tom Schad can be reached at tschad@washingtontimes.com.

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