- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXNARD, Calif. – So what if one fan got involved in a fight between players?
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett considered the emotionally charged atmosphere for the team’s joint practices with the Oakland Raiders – created in large part by having Cowboys fans on one side of the facility and Raiders fans on the other – to be a great thing.
“I thought it was a fantastic day of practice,” Garrett said. “I really did. It was as electric an atmosphere as I’ve been around on a practice field, really in my life. Our offense had a tremendous home-field advantage over there with a lot of Cowboys fans on the offensive side and the defense was playing on the road a little bit. But I just thought the atmosphere was great.
“I thought both teams handled it really well. We talked about scratch, claw, fight from snap to whistle. A couple of times it boiled over after the whistle, but I thought the teams did a great job just getting separated and getting back to work.”
The most notable instance of things boiling over after the whistle occurred in a brawl between the Dallas defense and the Oakland offense within arm’s reach of Raiders fans, one of whom got involved.
The fight started after Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne slammed Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera to the turf on the sideline. Dozens of players were soon fighting, and a fan hit Cowboys cornerback B.W. Webb twice with his hand and once with a helmet before Webb reacted by swiping at the fan.
Garrett said the Cowboys “obviously” don’t want fans and players fighting, but he had no problem with how Webb handled the incident.
“They certainly took offense to [Claiborne’s tackle], and it boiled over right by that fence,” Garrett said. “That’s just the nature of it. You have to as a player defend your teammate, get yourself in there and make sure he’s OK. Always have your guy’s back.
“That’s an important part of building a football team. At the same time, poise in that situation is important. I thought we demonstrated both, and you kind of move on.”
The Raiders' side of the stands was packed more than a half hour before Wednesday morning’s practice. There was also increased security on that side of the field.