Friday, August 2, 2013
Brawl livens up Bears practice
By Michael C. Wright
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Tight end Martellus Bennett provided the day's excitement Friday at Chicago Bears training camp, when he became involved in a brawl with nickel corner Kelvin Hayden that eventually turned into a scrum of several players in the middle of the practice field at Olivet Nazarene University.
Shortly after catching a pass from Jay Cutler, Bennett turned up field as Hayden grabbed the tight end from behind and pulled him to the ground. Bennett rose and knocked down Hayden only to find several defensive players, including safeties Major Wright, Anthony Walters, and Chris Conte -- among others -- on top of him. Coaches and players quickly rushed to the middle of the field to break up the melee.
"It's hot, you know. I'm actually a mean person. I know you all think I joke around ... but I am not. I am very aggressive," Bennett said. "They are aggressive with me. I am aggressive with them. You come hard at me, I come hard at you all day. I don't back down for anything, anyone."
Bennett claimed he never threw a punch during the brawl, but he certainly appeared to be punching, as did several others involved.
After the fight, the team huddled in the middle of the field. Bennett walked away to one of the auxiliary practice fields, seemingly to regain his composure. Bennett stayed away for approximately three minutes, before rejoining the rest of his teammates.
"I don't know, I stepped out for a second," Bennett said. "Everybody is aggressive. Everybody is a little tired. Everybody is a little sore. Guys do something you don't like, you just react. I am a blue-collar football player, and that is what I always will be and I enjoy playing like that."
Bears coach Marc Trestman dismissed the fight as a common occurrence at training camp, and pointed out that "the guys kept their composure and moved on."
"That's what we expect," Trestman said. "It's going to happen in a game where somebody's going to lose their mind. When one guy does, it's not who he is. He just lost his composure for a minute."
Wright considered the situation "just football," but admitted fights can often give a team energy during an otherwise mundane practice.
"It gets everybody riled up. It gets everybody going. Even if you were not having a good day, that kind of gets you going," Wright said. "Overall, today was a good day other than that little scuffle we got into. But that happens for teams. We'll move on and get better."
"Just competing, you know. Nothing crazy," he said. "It's just camp, that's the way things are. But we're a family and we're brothers. Brothers sometimes fight. But we get through it."
Other training camp notes:
- Cornerback Tim Jennings returned to practice after being excused the two previous days to tend to a family matter.
- With Charles Tillman receiving a day off to rest, Hayden played the starting cornerback opposite Jennings, which thrust second-year veteran Isaiah Frey into the nickel role. "He's having a very competitive camp," Trestman said of Frey. "He's been very consistent throughout. He's continually playing at a high level, making plays, knocking passes down, creating opportunities for himself. He's in a terrific competition with other guys on this team. He's shown himself every single day. He's done a lot of good things."
- Conte intercepted Cutler on the first play of seven-on-seven drills.
- The Bears conduct practice at Soldier Field on Saturday for their annual "Family Fest."