The head coaches of the Dallas Cowboys and the St. Louis Rams kicked off Tuesday's second day of two days of combined workouts by instructing their players to crank up the intensity that was lacking Monday while avoiding the foolishness of fighting.
The players heeded half of Jason Garrett and Jeff Fisher's commands ... and after three wild brawls, the "Finish-the-Fight!''-themed Cowboys opted to not even finish the practice.
"All you're thinking about is having your teammate's back," said Tyler Patmon, who came away from the big event on the fight card with a series of bloody cuts on his forehead. "And that's all that matters."
Well, Garrett and Fisher and Cowboys COO Stephen Jones would disagree. Said Jones: "We're going to have to continue to emphasize that stuff is not what we want. It should not be a part of our game. It's not good for either team. Obviously, there are huge injury risks. We've just got to learn from it.''
Dez & Trumaine yap pic.twitter.com/CBZlzEO0m7— mike fisher (@fishsports) August 18, 2015
The intensity came early, when Dez Bryant responded to taunts of his receiving teammates from Rams defensive back Trumaine Johnson by attempting, against the wishes of his Cowboys bosses, to insert himself into 1-on-1 drills against Johnson. How excited was Dallas to shut up Johnson? QB Tony Romo actually seems to desire to go along with Dez' desire to risk a tender hamstring to win a meaningless game of pride.
Words became actions soon after when Cowboys linebacker Andrew Gachkar and Rams center Demetrius Rhaney tangled. which then led to a multi-pronged fight that a number of players. And then came the melee, which included Cowboys rookie Randy Gregory ducking roundhouse punches, safety Jeff Heath battling an assortment of Rams receivers, St. Louis' Jared Cook and Eugene Sims seemingly looking for some blindside shots, Patmon coming to the aid of J.J. Wilcox (who was buried under some Rams, one of whom tossed his helmet into the stands) ...
JJ Wilcox loses helmet in fight, then Rams player tosses it to fan. pic.twitter.com/iep1sCKdzc— Drew Davison (@drewdavison) August 19, 2015
Oh, and then, yet another appearance from Dez, who sprinted from the middle of the complex (while talking shop with Jerry Jones) only to run helmet-less and face-first into the fist of Rams cornerback Imoan Claiborne.
Maybe Dez lost that sucker-punch fight. But possibly worse, he temporarily lost his diamond earring, too.
Dez Bryant ear ring has been found on practice field following today's on field brawls. pic.twitter.com/PKDyeJhHUf— WFAA TV (@wfaachannel8) August 19, 2015
In total, it all looked something like this:
Team executives were left pondering the risk/reward of such combined workouts. Remember that Monday's session was criticized by Cowboys folks for "lacking intensity.'' Well, they fixed that, but ...
"When you see the energy level out here with the fans, they enjoy it watching the teams play. I do think we can continue to do this. I just think we have to emphasize we don't want this in our game. ... How we handle this situation out here, as a competition committee, as a league, as the Dallas Cowboys, Jason, Jerry (Jones) and I have to huddle up and say how we're going to prevent this in the future."
Ah, but support for one's mates is important and pride is pride. It's why Dez wanted in the drill. It's why Dez was willing to take the punch. It's why Dez took to Twitter to defend his manhood with a since-deleted tweet: “I wish I would have cheap-shot his ass then all of y’all would have seen the difference. You can’t even put that sh-t on WorldStar lol.”