The Indianapolis Colts promised to play nice.
Well, sort of. They were told to and players basically acknowledged what’s expected.
Before the Colts participated in the first of two scrimmages with the Chicago Bears Wednesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center in Indianapolis, players were reminded to not let their emotions get the best of them in these workouts.
But recent fights in other scrimmages around the NFL are a reminder of how tempers still flare.
“It’s tough, man, because we play a physical sport,” said Colts inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. “It’s violent, it’s fast, so collisions are going to happen. It happens every day, you just don’t see it, (but) not the big skirmishes and the brawls.
“Guys are getting tired of seeing the same guys every day. One day may not be your best day. You just want to go out and make sure you put your best foot forward. And when that happens, we have a lot of guys, things are going to happen, we’ve just got to do a good job of making sure we diffuse the situation immediately and take care of one another.”
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano says he told players on the first day of training camp that fighting would not be tolerated, that if it happens in a game, the player will be ejected. He was going to hold players to the same standard in practice.
Pagano said Wednesday that he wouldn’t tolerate any fighting from his players.
“(Bears head) coach (John) Fox is sending the same message that I sent,” Pagano said. “We’re here to make each other better. We’re here to take care of each other. Treat them like we treat ourself. It’s not about the chirping and jaw-jacking and taking cheap shots. It’s about getting better. They’re here to make us better and vice versa. It won’t be tolerated and you can’t cross the line.”
The Colts typically don’t scrimmage other opponents in preseason. They practiced in 1998 and 1999 against the St. Louis Rams in Champaign, Ill. In 1984, the first year the franchise moved to Indianapolis, the Colts scrimmaged against the Detroit Lions. In more recent years, the Colts worked out for one day with the Cleveland Browns in Columbus, Ohio, as well as a few days with the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn.
Chicago won its preseason opener 27-10 against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday. The Colts lost 36-10 at the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. After scrimmaging Wednesday and Thursday, the Colts and Bears will play a 7:30 p.m. preseason game Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Jackson in his 10th NFL season and is a Colts defensive leader. He assured his teammates understand the importance of keeping their cool.
“In the end, we don’t want to hurt anyone, take anyone’s money out of their pocket and not allow them to provide for their families,” he said.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.