Slap 80-plus dudes all fighting for jobs into football gear and crank up the heat a tad -- literally and figuratively – and it’s only natural that the collective blood pressure will rise.
And so it went today at Winnipeg Blue Bombers training camp when, during a two-hour practice session, there were a enough fights-slash-skirmishes to fill the holes on the upcoming UFC 161 card. Head coach Tim Burke, who earlier in the week made it clear his distaste for the fighting, actually stopped practice after the second scrap, lined his entire team up on the goal line and made them do up-downs every five yards over the length of the entire 110-yard field.
"A few tempers flared up," said Burke after today’s practice. "I’m not a big fan of that. You can’t do it in a game, so why do it in practice? If you allow it to happen in practice, there’s a chance it will happen in a game. That’s the main reason.
"Plus, one of the main things we’ve talked about is respecting everybody. Respect your teammates, respect your opponents, respect the media… believe it or not… just kidding, and respect everybody in the organization and in the community. And when you have fights like that, that’s not a respect for your teammate. We’re going to have a talk about that tonight and how to break these things up."
The first scrap featured receivers Jameze Massey and Quintin McCree and the second began with defensive lineman Kenny Mainor swinging at offensive guard Steve Morley before Jonathan Hefney and a few others jumped into the fracas. Asked if he planned to take further disciplinary action afterward, Burke said:
"If I can see something on film as to the reason it started or if I see somebody really take a cheap shot, yeah, then I’ll do something about it," he said. "Those things get to be he said/she said kind of things so unless you really see it on film, you can’t really believe anybody."
"That was a bit excessive, what happened but it happens," said Mainor. "You’ve got to leave it, end it today, leave it where it was and not bring it back out tomorrow or any other day."
Other Day 4 news:
- The Bombers have added import linebacker Chad Faulcon (6-0, 190, Montclair State). The 23-year-old Cranford, N.J. product was a two-year starter for the Red Hawks and named the New Jersey Athletic Conference and D3 Football.com East Regions’ Defensive player of the Year. He was also named a Division III third-team All-American. All those accolades earned him a tryout with the Atlanta Falcons, but he was released prior to their main training camp. He’ll battle for work at the WILL (weak side) linebacker position
- Burke, who called out his veteran defensive backs on Tuesday, was happy with their response since the public shot.
"The effort level has picked up," he said. "I was really happy with it yesterday, it looked like a bunch of pirhanas out there with a piece of meat. That’s the kind of defence we want. We want guys flying to the football and you won’t do it in a game if you haven’t developed the habit in practice and that’s why we harp on it so much. Yesterday and today our effort has been much better."
- RB Chris Garrett was back in action after missing the afternoon session on Tuesday, but SB Rory Kohlert pulled up lame Wednesday with a bad hamstring that will sideline him for a couple of weeks.