The mercury soared, the crowd swelled and tempers boiled over – twice –at Redskins Park.
First, linebacker London Fletcher and center Will Montgomery tangled during 11 on 11 drills. Then, moments later, tight end Niles Paul threw two punches at linebacker Markus White.
A spectator in the announced crowd of 24,650 – it was fan appreciation in Ashburn – screamed, “Save it for Dallas!”
Coach Mike Shanahan wasn’t laughing, though. After the second skirmish, he called his players close.
“You love to see guys who are competitive,” Shanahan said later when asked what he said in the huddle. “But you can’t have guys lose their poise, because that will cost you the football game. I tried to share that with the guys. It’s a good learning lesson.”
Paul said he was defending himself from a player who was attempted to “de-cleat” him. He also described White as a “good” friend.
“I definitely went too far,” Paul said. “I should have been the bigger man and let that go. But it’s hot out here – not making any excuses – but I just kind of snapped. …I’m expected to keep my poise better. [Shanahan] said you can’t do that in a game. You can’t afford that penalty. You could be done for a couple of games.”
Some other notes from Saturday’s practice:
Owner Dan Snyder, who rarely addresses the media, spoke to reporters for about 90 seconds. “It’s a big deal and we’re just thrilled with him, as a person and what he stands as a Redskin,” he said of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. “It’s exciting for the whole Redskins Nation. Everything takes time, as you guys know, we’re just excited to have him, and with Coach Shanahan, everything we’re building right now, we feel good about the future.” …WR Antony Armstrong (shoulder), FB Darrel Young (hamstring), WR Josh Morgan (hamstring), WR Lance Lewis (groin), T James Lee (knee) and LB Ryan Kerrigan (ill) also sat out practice. Kerrigan, who has missed practice twice this week, said both absences were due to heat related illness that caused him dizziness. “They just wanted to be cautious with it, especially with today being so hot,” Kerrigan said.
The Redskins are off Sunday.