Coming Out Fighting

People have different ways of marking the "official" mark of training camp.

To some, it's checking in at the team hotel. To others, it's the "state of the team" address by the team owner and coach.

To Dallas linebacker Bradie James, it's the first fight.

James and fullback Deon Anderson broke up the monotony of the Tuesday's morning practice when they tangled with each other after a play.

"It's part of football," James said after practice. "It's how you know you're in two-a-days. It's official when you have that first skirmish."

Speculation that James and Anderson don't get along couldn't be further from the truth. Their lockers at the team's Valley Ranch training facility are close to each others, and the two — universally considered to be among the nicest and most easy-going players on the team — talk and joke constantly.

"Like I said, it's just a part of football on the field," James said. "That's it. We were laughing about it and joking afterward. You get that red eye and you just want to blast somebody, so it just kills the monotony of practice, and that's it."

James said the incident started as a result of Anderson misinterpreting a move James made that ended up with James hitting Anderson in the neck.

"We're not really out here trying to fight each other," James said. "It's all in competition — all in love. We're having fun. At the end, (Anderson) came to me and said I karate-chopped him in the throat, and I didn't.

"But I guess it got practice going, to be honest with you. Sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do."

James is right, of course, when he said fights are a part of football. They have happened for decades on every team at every level. His scrap with Anderson, he said, pales in comparison to some, including last year's melee between nose tackle Jay Ratliff and Marc Colombo.

"They were actually able to break us up today," James said. "But if you get in there with Ratliff and Colombo, they might knock down everybody, so you don't want to break up a fight like that. You've just got to wait until they're finished."

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