PHILADELPHIA – The first punch thrown at Riley Cooper since it became known he made a racial remark didn’t come from an opponent, but a teammate.
Cooper, who left the Philadelphia Eagles for three days in training camp after a video of him using the N-word surfaced on the Internet, found himself in a scuffle with defensive back Cary Williams at practice Thursday. Cooper, a receiver, said afterward it had nothing to do with his comment at a Kenny Chesney concert in June. And Williams declined to speak to reporters.
Both being super competitive, going for the ball, Cooper said. We had a tangle up at the ball, we both went to the ground. There was a lot of contact at the top of the route.
It was nothing.
Williams was covering Cooper, broke up a pass from quarterback Michael Vick and both players went down. Cooper stood up and shoved Williams first. Williams responded with a couple punches and had to be forcibly restrained by teammates, including Vick.
Cooper walked away after cornerback Brandon Boykin stepped in to separate the players. Williams then took his helmet off, screamed at Cooper and started walking toward him before Vick stepped in and grabbed the cornerback by his jersey. Williams yelled at Vick, and an assistant coach led the quarterback away.
Our maturity level has to be on a whole different plane, Vick said. We have to be men. We’re not guys who are out on the street, fighting one another. We’re teammates. It’s game week. We don’t have time for that. I don’t.
It’s a distraction.
Around the league
Detroit rookie Ziggy Ansah practiced Thursday, a sign that his recovery from a concussion may be progressing. Jacksonville could be without tight end Marcedes Lewis (strained left calf) in the season opener against Kansas City. Lewis missed his second consecutive day of practice Thursday.
Houston coach Gary Kubiak said safety Ed Reed (hip) could play when the Texans open the season at San Diego on Monday. Carolina coach Ron Rivera said quarterback Cam Newton was selected by his teammates as co-captain for the first time in his career. Denver tight end Julius Thomas started Thursday against Baltimore despite revelations of his arrest last week. The Arapahoe County sheriff’s office said Thomas was arrested Aug. 28 for failing to appear in court for a traffic citation this year. He was stopped for speeding near the Broncos’ training facility and released on $500 bond the same day of his arrest, which was first reported by the Denver Post.
An American Indian tribe in upstate New York said it will launch a radio ad campaign pressing for the Washington Redskins to shed a name often criticized as offensive. The Oneida Indian Nation said the first ad will run on radio stations in Washington before the team hosts the Philadelphia Eagles in its season opener Monday.