If you have siblings, then you get it. If you have ever spent a year or more in a college dormitory then you get it. If you have worked in the same office with the same people day after day, then you get it too. What you are ‘getting’ is that these environments and situations can cause friction. A lot of friction that can sometimes be combustible.
Such is what happens at NFL training camps and our own Pittsburgh Steelers are not unique to this. The first couple of days of contact saw scrums and scuffles involving Willie Colon and most of the defense. Monday however, a cage match worthy of WWE itself broke out not once, but twice between Ike Taylor and Antonio Brown.
The first incident happened just after an Ike Taylor interception which is often as rare as days without a rumble but I digress… The second brouhaha occurred after practice as the players were leaving the field. Apparently it took General Manager Kevin Colbert and some coaches to finally put things to rest.
What I found most interesting was the reaction by some members of the esteemed Pittsburgh media who felt it the right opportunity to take a shot at Taylor. Long-time Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Gerry Dulac tweeted that it ‘was too bad Taylor didn’t go after Demaryius Thomas as hard as he did Brown.’ If you need a refresher, Thomas of course was the guy who caught the game-winning touchdown pass as Denver beat Pittsburgh in the playoffs last season leaving Taylor in his wake.
No one except maybe Taylor himself was as hard on him and Dick LeBeau as I was but I’ve let it go. Apparently Dulac hasn’t. I like a lot of what Dulac does for the PPG but if this was an attempt at humor, it failed simply because Dulac has no place to talk. I know how easy it is to play armchair quarterback all the time too especially after the fact. But I also have the utmost respect for what NFL players do on a daily basis. I’m not so sure that Dulac does.
Fights in practice are common and if you didn’t know this then in the immortal words of Bruce Willis, “welcome to the party pal.” Sure these guys are millionaires but they are competitors too. That doesn’t go away despite the wealth and when a guy’s pride is on the line he tends to get a little feisty. I guarantee one of them said something the other didn’t like and off they went. Again, it happens, so get over it.
As one of my very knowledgeable and loyal twitter followers reminded me, fights like this were even more common during the Chuck Noll days. If I’m not mistaken, Gerry Dulac was around then and I’m guessing he wouldn’t have cocked off to Mel Blount the way he did Ike Taylor.
Social media has allowed all of us incredible access to just about every walk of life and that includes our favorite teams and the people who cover them. Much like the fights that take place during training camp, we can too often take out our frustrations or make poor attempts at humor in an instant and whether it’s after we’ve thrown the punch or hit the ‘send’ button it’s too late.
This won’t be the last time two Steelers go after each other. When your college roommate used your last box of Mac and Cheese you reached a boiling point. These guys do that too and it’s perfectly normal so don’t sweat it. I don’t recommend using it to call out one of the players though either.