Rams Rumble During Training Camp

EARTH CITY, Mo. — Flamboyant boxing promoter Don King visited St. Louis Rams training camp two weeks ago to promote a local fight. If he had been at Rams Park on Tuesday, he might have tried to sign some players to contracts.

The St. Louis Rams had three separate fights break out during their 11-on-11 team drills in the morning practice session, including altercations involving three of their highest profile players — Steven Jackson, Chris Long and Jason Smith.

"We started out a little bit slow and then it got a little festive and guys got into it and it was a good physical practice," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said in his general remarks about practice.

Defensive tackle Gary Gibson was involved in two altercations. The 300-pounder mixed it up with offensive lineman Hank Fraley and then a few minutes later got into it with running back Steven Jackson.

At one point Jackson ripped off Gibson's helmet and tossed it several feet away.

"The testosterone gets flaring out there a little bit during the day," Gibson said. "But once we go in the locker room everything is fine. It's just one of those days. You're going against the same guys every day, there's going to be a little animosity sometimes."

Jackson did not speak with the media following practice.

"Everybody hugged it out afterwards and we're good to go," Gibson said.

There was also an altercation between the Rams' No. 2 overall draft picks in 2008 and 2009, Long and Smith.

"You're agitated out here anyways," Long said. "You're in a bad mood. You should be. We were 1-15 last year. We're pissed off. We're in training camp. Somebody shoves you after the whistle or holds on to you. You beat someone on a play and all of a sudden they want to hold on to you and win the battle after the play. Well, then there's going to be a whole another thing after the play. That's kind of the way these things get started. In the end we're all friends back in the locker room, for the most part."

Shortly after the mix-up with Smith, Long was knocked down on a play by tight end Billy Bajema.

"He chipped me and to be honest, that was bull----," Long said. "So I can't wait to get my shot back on Baj. You're tired as hell from two fights and then somebody wants to chip you. If that's the way you're going to handle it, OK, we'll see."

Long appeared to make up with Smith later in practice as the two talked on the sideline.

"He said, ‘Let's not fight anymore,'" Long said. "I said, ‘Well, don't hold on to me after the play.' But he's a big, strong dude. He like wrestles cows and stuff like that, so it was tough. He got me on the ground but for the record though I ended up on top. … Jason and me are cool. We're both trying to get better. Sometimes he might do something that pisses me off and likewise, but for the most part we get along great and compete very well."

Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, whose father Joe was famously involved in pro wrestling as part of the "Road Warriors" tag team, suggested after practice that the Rams put an octogon, the ring used for Ultimate Fighting Championship matches, on the team's practice fields.

Long was good with that idea.

"Bring out Laurinaitis's pops and stuff," he joked. "We'll just do it big. People jumping off of chairs and stuff. I was hoping to see Spags get into it. Actually, when you get in a fight in practice, everybody is so tired you look at Spags like, alright, now are you going to give us a break? But it's just not going to happen. It's better to stay away from those situations."


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