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Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Scuffle highlights night practice

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A spirited scuffle during 11-on-11 work in the red zone highlighted the Patriots' season-ticket-holder-only practice Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.

Starting left tackle Nate Solder seemed to be one of the instigators of the scuffle, shoving linebacker Brandon Spikes while Spikes was on the ground. That led to a lot more pushing and shoving between offensive and defensive players near the goal line, with some players pushed to the ground.

Solder was sent on a lap around the Gillette Stadium field.

Spikes briefly left the field with a trainer, although he was held out of most drills following the scuffle. He participated in a few snaps in 11-on-11 work.

It had the look of a baseball-type bench-clearing brawl, with everyone stepping into the fray. Most players were attempting to be peacemakers, but there was certainly some pushing and shoving among others.

Earlier in the evening, coach Bill Belichick said that players were entering the dog days of camp, and perhaps that contributed to some of the testiness of players at practice.

Before the Solder-Spikes scuffle, veteran center Dan Koppen was at the heart of two other minor dust-ups.

Receiver Brandon Lloyd, defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, safety/cornerback Will Allen and center/guard Dan Connolly were among those who did not practice. Also, backup right tackle Matt Kopa didn't finish practice after coming up with a limp in 11-on-11 drills.

On the personnel front, third-year defensive end Jermaine Cunningham saw extended time with some top players on defense. But after his strong start to camp, he cooled down in this session, with offensive linemen handling him in 1-on-1 drills.

Meanwhile, first-round draft choice Chandler Jones had a strong performance in 1-on-1 drills. He is getting some consistent pressure off the right edge in that drill.

This was another great training camp crowd, with those in attendance sitting primarily in the lower bowl of the stadium.