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Friday, July 30, 2010
Maybin cheap shot fires up Bills O-line


PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Aaron Maybin finally did something to stand out at Buffalo Bills practice.

And not in a good way.

In just the second session of training camp, Maybin drew the fury of the Bills' offensive line when he shoved running back Fred Jackson to the ground from behind at the end of a play during an 11-on-11 drill Friday morning. A brawl ensued.

Jackson hit the ground hard and yelled "Come on, man!"

From about 10 yards away, Bills center Geoff Hangartner stormed after Maybin. They engaged, hands in facemasks, until Maybin ducked down to pick up Hangartner from behind the knees and attempted to dump him with a wrestling move.

Offensive and defensive players jumped in to break them up. The combatants toppled to the ground and were being pulled apart when Maybin delivered a punch to Hangartner's cage. The fight happened about 20 feet in front of me.

"Do that again, Maybin! This is football!" defensive lineman Marcus Stroud hollered from a group of observers. Stroud, with his helmet off, was held out of practice for unspecified reasons. "You're supposed to get tackled!"

The tenor remained tense for a few more hard-hitting plays. Then Bills guard Eric Wood expressed a different sentiment to Maybin, the 11th overall pick in last year's draft who didn't start a game and finished the season with nine solo tackles.

"Give back some of that money you ain't [expletive] earned!" Wood screamed at the defensive huddle.

Maybin sat out all of training camp last year before signing a five-year contract that included $15 million in guarantees.

Wood was drafted 17 slots after Maybin last year. He started all 10 games before gruesomely breaking his left tibia and fibula. With a titanium rod in his leg, Wood was with the first-team offense when came opened Thursday.

Long-suffering Bills fans have to appreciate Wood's fiery reaction. I have a feeling the Bills will sell a few Wood jerseys once fans read coverage of Friday's fight.

Wood declined to comment when approached by Associated Press reporter John Wawrow.

"You hit our 1,000-yard rusher in the back when he's not looking, then it's going to cause some hard feelings with the O-line," Hangartner said. "We've got to protect our guy."

Maybin laughed off the altercation and said he didn't hear Wood's challenge.

"It is what it is," Maybin said. "It's a physical game."

"I'm never one to shy away from the contact portion of the game. If there's nobody who's going to be willing to get the practice started, I'll start things off for us."

Bills coach Chan Gailey will hold his daily news conference following Friday night's practice and was unavailable to share his thoughts about teammates tussling. Some coaches, such as predecessor Dick Jauron, abhor it because it demonstrates a lack of discipline and could lead to injuries. Other coaches like it because it indicates toughness.

When asked Thursday why he chose to put his players in pads on the first day of training camp -- Jauron always waited until the first Monday -- Gailey chuckled.

"We're in training camp, aren't we?" Gailey said. "Training camp is a time to go to work. We only have a certain number of opportunities to get out here and get better and be a physical football team. So we take advantage of every opportunity that we have."