Brawls Cut Short Practice; Upsets Schwartz

He had intended to end the team's final mini-camp practice on a high note. Instead, Lions coach Jim Schwartz was handing out fines.

He had intended to end the team's final mini-camp practice on a high note. Instead, Lions coach Jim Schwartz was handing out fines.

Tempers flared at the team's Allen Park training facility on Friday, where the "non-contact" drills took an opposing twist on two different occasions. Coaching staff and personnel had to break-up two different fights involving several players.

At the end of one of the scuffles, Schwartz lashed out verbally at the players for several minutes.

"There's going to be lot of fines from today -- it's not acceptable what happened," said an irritated Schwartz in his press briefing. The practice concluded the team's off-season, as they gear up for training camp which begins in late July. "It's going to get hot, and at the end of practice there's going to be things that come up, but when you can't finish practice, and you have guys entering fights that they aren't involved in it, it's unacceptable."

Even more embarrassing might have been the fact that the team just had two of its off-season training activities canceled after their last public skirmish went noticed by the league, which punished Detroit for violating the NFL's off-season procedural policy.

"We didn't learn our lesson from the first-time. And they're going to feel the repercussions of that," added Schwartz.

Schwartz, however, didn't believe the fights were related to team discipline or chemistry.

"In the locker room there's going be guys who were fighting 15 minutes ago that are sitting next to each other talking about where they're going to go for lunch today, and what are you doing this weekend," he said, chalking the scuffles up to his troops being overly competitive. "What they want to do is go to lunch and be able to say, 'I got the best of you.' It's a pride thing.

"You're always going to have that dynamic, but as a team you have to recognize that there's more to being a team."

Most important, issued Schwartz, was the fact that a team who finished 2-16 one season ago has more important issues to worry about than ego.

"It keeps us from getting the work that needs to be done," he said.


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