- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 30, 2019

RICHMOND — Drenched in sweat while walking off the practice field, Tyler Catalina smiled. The Redskins’ offensive lineman had said it “was fun,” but not even an hour earlier, Catalina didn’t look like he was having a good time. That’s because the 26-year-old was right in the face of Jojo Wicker — throwing a punch at the defensive lineman.

On a sweltering morning, tempers finally flared.

Two scuffles broke out Tuesday at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, including a fistfight between Catalina and Wicker. In both instances, the players were quickly separated.

Besides Catalina and Wicker’s exchange, tight end Jeremy Sprinkle and safety Montae Nicholson also had to be separated after Sprinkle drove Nicholson to the ground following the completion of a play.

“It was just a culmination of all the pads, the heat, probably,” Catalina said. “But it was fun. We’re all good, it was just football.”

Intensity at practice has ramped up over the past few days. The Redskins first practiced with pads Saturday, and coach Jay Gruden allowed live tackling during a goal-line drill the following day. The Redskins had Monday off, but when they returned, players continued their fight to make the roster.

The first exchange started when the Wicker shoved Catalina, who responded with a punch right at the defensive lineman’s helmet. More punches were thrown, which caused defensive linemen Tim Settle to rush in and deck Catalina to the ground with his shoulder. A shoving match between both sides of the ball erupted shortly after.

Asked if that was his first football scuffle, Settle said he wouldn’t even characterize it as such.

“Let’s just get to work,” Settle said. “We don’t need to do that.”

Later, Sprinkle and Nicholson got into it. Following a defensive stop, Nicholson hovered over Sprinkle after the tight end was blocked to the ground. But that apparently didn’t sit well with Sprinkle — as he tackled Nicholson to the grass.

Like Catalina, Sprinkle downplayed the moment. He said he and Nicholson would laugh about it later.

“It was just a normal camp play, it happens everywhere,” Sprinkle said. “Emotions just got the best of us and it’s hot out here, so we just take it one at a play and move on to the next.”

The temperature in Richmond hovered around 93 degrees with a high of 95.

Training camp scuffles are nothing new. Last year, the Redskins and the New York Jets had multiple players involved in fights after their first joint practice. The Redskins took exception to a late hit delivered on tackle Morgan Moses and retaliated with a melee that spilled into the crowd. More recently, the Baltimore Ravens also saw three of their players Monday exchange punches.

Tuesday’s scuffles didn’t take place anywhere near the sideline.

“That’s how camp is supposed to be,” Settle said when asked about the intensity at camp. “I love it. Stuff gets heated up, but that’s part of the game. Professionals athlete play this sport to be physical and just dominate. That’s what we do, so it’s part of the game. You’ve gotta love it.”

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