FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Things got heated at the New England Patriots' organized team activity (OTA) made available to the media on Tuesday.
A scuffle broke out following a play during one of the padless 11-on-11 sessions between members of the Patriots' starting offensive and defensive lines. Several players were pushing and shoving during the incident. Left guard Cole Strange and outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings were involved in the initial scrap before center David Andrews and defensive tackle Christian Barmore got in the mix.
When things heated up, Barmore swung his arm over the top toward Andrews with Strange and Jennings close by. The swing from Barmore caused him to sit out the remainder of practice. Strange also sat out the rest of practice for his role in the incident.
Scuffles breaking out during team practices aren't uncommon in the NFL, but still are interesting nonetheless. In fact, Barmore and Andrews got involved in a big scrap during a training camp practice last season. The two brushed aside the incident in the day after the event, saying it was just something that happened in the heat of the moment while adding they had respect for each other.
“People are very passionate on our team about what they do,” Patriots defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. said of the scuffle. “Things happen. So, the only thing we have to do is continue to work hard, work on our fundamentals, see where we can fix our mistakes at and move forward from there.”
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The fight at Tuesday's practice came after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said earlier that the day's practice would be lighter and with a lower tempo. Belichick said that they had a “big” day of practice during Monday's OTA.
Outside of the scuffle, Tuesday's practice wasn't as intense. Several starters were participating, including quarterback Mac Jones while rookie corner Christian Gonzalez made his practice debut in front of the media. But there were still several notable players missing, too. Matthew Judon wasn't there while the team's top four receivers (DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Tyquan Thornton) were all either working on the field off to the side or weren't present.
Still, the Patriots good some good work in. Jones operated an up-tempo offense, mostly throwing and completing short and quick passes to tight ends Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki along with running back Rhamondre Stevenson.
The absences of the Patriots' top four receivers allowed the rookies and other receivers lower on the depth chart to get a good amount of work in with the Patriots' starting unit. Following practice, Jones remained on the field for a good while as he worked with rookie receivers Kayshon Boutte and Demario Davis.