Jason Garrett walked off the practice field with a shirt that had “Fight!” written across it, a fitting description of the craziest practice of Joe Judge’s tenure as Giants coach.
There was a full-on brawl between offensive and defensive players during the Giants’ final 11-on-11 team drills of the day.
Here is everything that happened before, during and after the training camp fight:
– The hit: Quarterback Daniel Jones completed a pass to Corey Clement. At the end of the play, he was hit — hard — by a Giants defensive back. New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard reported it was safety Xavier McKinney. The Giants went to pads for the first time today, but that hit was still out-of-bounds, especially for training camp — and against a teammate.
Clement said after practice that he didn’t feel like it was a dirty hit, though it would be hard to seriously make that argument.
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“We all understand the nature of the game. If you get hit you’ve got to get right back up,” Clement said. “If you don’t want to be a part of it, you can’t cry about it. A hit is a hit. I’m not taking nothing else from it. I’ve been hit before. I’ve been hit all my life. So keep bringing it on. It’s training camp.”
– The retaliation: Tight end Evan Engram shoved McKinney to the ground in response.
“I didn’t even see Evan do that,” Clement said. “Everybody’s got each other’s back. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised. I’m glad somebody did something, because that just shows that somebody cares about you. No matter what, he’s there to have my back. That’s what you want out of a friend and a teammate.”
– The retaliation to the retaliation: Defensive back Logan Ryan came running over and decked Engram from behind. After practice, Ryan said he didn’t regret hitting Engram in that way.
“I’m going to pay my punishments,” Ryan added later. “I don’t regret anything I did out there. I was protecting my guy. I’m a grown man and I’ll pay my dues. That’s what this league is about.”
– The brawl: All of a sudden, there was a full on team brawl taking place, a pile quickly formed. There was shoving and swinging. At one point, Jones was at the bottom of the pile and what appeared to be center Nick Gates ran over to pull him out. Nobody is going to get excited about seeing a quarterback at the bottom of a pile. Jones wasn’t the only player that had fallen at the bottom of the pile, but he was certainly the most prominent.
Jones didn’t seem to regret running over, either.
“I’m part of the team and part of the offense,” Jones said. “So I don’t see myself separated from that.”
– The punishment: Almost instantly, Joe Judge let it be known how angry he was about what just happened. After some screaming (full of expletives), Judge yelled at the players to line up. And, with Judge yelling at them, the entire roster proceeded to run sprints — or “gassers” in football parlance. After the first round of sprints, the entire team did 30 pushups.
And then more sprints.
And then 30 more pushups.
And then more sprints.
Judge yelled at them the whole time.
(Note: Even running back Saquon Barkley, rehabbing his knee injury, participated in the sprints and push-ups.)
“There’s consequences for that kind of stuff and that’s the way it is in the game,” Jones said. “You lose your cool, there’s consequences and that hurts the team. So that was the message.”
Some players were, fittingly, gassed from all the exercise. Practice ended with a 5-10-minute long lecture from Judge — at one point he yelled at his coaching staff to not join him while he spoke with the players — to end practice.
There was a lot of cursing.
“Those words mean something different to us, it’s like a different Joe language,” Martinez said, smiling. “We know what it means, but you guys (the media) just hear that. But no, it’s one of those things that you take that criticism and you bounce back.”
– The aftermath: Practice ended following the brawl (and ensuing punishment), though it’s unclear if any of the involved parties will be involved will be punished in any way.
None of the players that spoke after practice — Judge won’t speak again until before Wednesday’s practice — seemed to think the fight will lead to any ill will among teammates or cause any issues going forward.
“It’s football. It’s a physical sport. If you’re not tough or chippy, I don’t know if you should play,” Ryan said. “Everything there is in-between the lines, we’ll pay our dues, but we’re great. Me and Evan, we’re locker buddies. We’ll be fine.”
Said Martinez: “It’s part of football. Things happen. We’re all brothers out there. You have little fight here and there but you’ll always come back as a team.”
Clearly, though, Judge got his message across: This better not happen again.
“I’m ok with guys who are wiling to respect each other,” Ryan said. “Right now we’re against each other but hopefully when another opponent comes in we’ll be on the same side.”
About the cussing: “It was a lot,” Ryan said. “I’m happy my kids weren’t at this practice.”
Zack Rosenblatt may be reached at email@example.com.