OXNARD, Calif. – Training camp scuffles are a dime a dozen – but they don't typically happen this early, nor do they last so long.
What had been a routine Cowboys practice erupted into theatrics on Sunday evening, as a heated exchange between Dez Bryant and Tyler Patmon came to blows to end the day's practice.
"You know, it's two great competitors going at it. We were going back and forth, at the end of the day, that's what you want," Bryant said. "I got a little heated. At the end of the day, that's something you really need on the team, trying to win ballgames."
To say Bryant got "a little heated" might be a bit of an understatement. The skirmish started during the full-team scrimmage that concludes each daily practice. Typical onfield scrapping between the two players quickly turned into a shoving match, with Patmon throwing a punch.
It got more heated on the sideline, where Bryant and Patmon had to be separated by teammates and trainers, and punches were exchanged.
"It's just brothers – brothers fighting. That happens sometimes," Patmon said.
It's never a surprise to see the hot, intense conditions of training camp lead to skirmishes, but it certainly was unusual to see the amount of people needed to diffuse the situation – including Tony Romo, who jogged down the field to cool down his top receiver, as well as running back Joseph Randle and Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones.
"I was talking a whole bunch of stuff to him, he was talking back to me," Bryant said. "It just escalated on the next play. He wasn't going to back down, I wasn't going to back down."
It eventually came to a happy conclusion, with the pair meeting in the field after practice for a hug and a handshake. That itself wasn't enough to stave off the throng of reporters with questions about the fight, but Bryant said the two came out of the incident stronger.
"Of course, you have to like that. You don't want nobody weak on the team. That's why Patmon is here," he said. "He was undrafted. He's fighting his way and he's fighting for respect. He's got mine. I'll go to war with a guy like that any day of the week."
Added Patmon: "We're brothers, and we squash it. That was it, it's over."
- Reporting to camp following a brief contract holdout, defensive end Jeremy Mincey worked off to the side in uniform but not pads during practice.
- Linebacker Sean Lee again was held out of team drills as the Cowboys continue to ease him back into practice in his return from last year's ACL injury.
- Competitive situations drive Garrett's practices. To foster that environment, Garrett has developed compete drills between the offense and defense in each practice. The two units compete in a best-of-three reps format in three drills: one-on-one pass rush, one-on-one routes, and team drills. The coaches track the results and determine whether offense or defense won the overall competition for each day based on which unit won two of the three drills overall.
- Offensive tackle Reshod Fortenberry was carted off the field with what appeared to be a knee injury sustained during team drills.
- Former Cowboys attending practice included Charles Haley, Darren Woodson, Dat Nguyen and Ken Hamlin.
- La'el Collins – Signed as a combo tackle/guard after the draft, the rookie looked comfortable at guard in one-one drills. He showed good power and technique in warding off rushes from second-team defensive tackle Terrell McClain.
- Dez Bryant – Before his theatrics with Patmon, Bryant made his share of plays. He got his first one-on-one reps of camp and was able to shed press coverage with ease, showing his trademark combination of size and speed to get a step ahead of defenders.
- Randy Gregory – The rookie defensive end has, understandably, had a tough time getting past All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith throughout the offseason. In one-on-one drills, though, Gregory used a quick first step and inside move on Smith, drawing praise from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and defensive tackles coach Leon Lett.
Play of the Day:
How about the play no one noticed while Bryant and Patmon had their tiny little disagreement? Tight end Jason Witten did a nice job of splitting two defenders for a deep-middle catch down the seam, a play he's made a million times with Romo. Honorable Mention: Earlier in team drills, cornerback Brandon Carr intercepted Romo's comeback throw to Terrance Williams one play after Bryant beat him for a catch.
Aug. 2 – Activated DE Jeremy Mincey from Reserve/Did Not Report list.
Waived/Injured LB Justin Jackson.
Aug. 1 – Signed LB Will Smith.
July 31 – Signed LB Keith Smith.
July 31 – Activated C Shane McDermott from Active/Non-Football Injury list.
July 30 – Placed LB Keith Rivers on Reserve/Retired.
Placed LB Mark Nzeocha, C Shane McDermott on Active/Non-Football Injury list.
Placed RB Darren McFadden, LB Rolando McClain and OT Chaz Green on Active/Physically Unable to Perform List.
Placed DE Jeremy Mincey on Reserve/Did Not Report list.
Returned to Practice:
DE Jeremy Mincey (contract holdout)
OT Reshod Fortenberry (knee)
RB Darren McFadden (hamstring)
OL Chaz Green (hip)
LB Mark Nzeocha (knee)
LB Rolando McClain (knee)
Monday, August 3
Players' Day Off
Tuesday, August 4
10:30 a.m. (PDT) Walkthrough
Noon (PDT) Coach Garrett press conference
3:45 p.m. (PDT) Practice