Tempers flare in feisty fight-filled Giants practice with preseason opener looming

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Giants make injury designations to reach 80 players on roster
A general view of Giants training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
Photo Credit: Christian Arnold

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – If anyone was wondering if the Giants were ready to hit somebody, all they had to do was watch Monday’s practice at the Meadowlands on Monday.

While temperatures reached nearly 90 degrees, things felt much hotter near the end of the on-field work as tempers flared resulting in blows between teammates. It was center Jon Feliciano who threw first the first haymaker at linebacker Cam Brown after he had dragged him out of a scrum.

It looked as though Feliciano had been joking around by going limp as Brown pulled him out of the dogpile that had ensued after Tae Crowder had taken running back Antonio Williams to the ground hard. Offensive line coach Bobby Johnson also got into the fray when he pushed Brown as well.

“Things happen. The intensity was raising as you saw today,” Julian Love said. “Something was bound to happen and as long as we have each other’s back. Tae is a guy who is going to ride with his guys and we’re going to ride with each other.”

Johnson’s involvement in the brouhaha was certainly unexpected considering that coaches don’t usually get In the middle of training camp scuffle. Giants coach Brian Daboll pulled the team together once things settled down to try and bring everyone together.

After that, practice continued as normal and multiple players said afterward that everything was fine in the locker room.

“We got some young guys and you want to see coaches, players,” Love explained. “It’s not just the guys on the field you want to see defending each other. The defensive side of the ball, offensive side of the ball when it comes to this Thursday, and Sundays it’s our whole team. But in practice, it’s tough not to be offense vs. defense against each other.

“So, you get some physicality, we got some younger coaches who have played the game. The testosterone is high at times and so it is what it is.”

While the fight’s main participants weren’t made available to reporters on Monday, those that did speak tried to downplay the situation. At one point during the incident, it looked as though Jon Feliciano tried to knee Crowder, but Love didn’t feel that anyone had crossed any line. 

When asked what Daboll’s message was when he huddled the team together, rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger said that it was about being in a winning mindset. 

“The theme of course was the physicality,” Bellinger said. “Just showing that we’re a physical team and things are going to happen, again, when it’s hot outside and guys are just putting their nose in the dirt and trying to play ball. But at the end of the day, he says that, ‘losing teams do that,’ so, at the end of the day we’ve got to come out there and be physical, but we’ve got to be smart as well.”

The spark that seemed to have lit the fuse was a few plays earlier when Saquon Barkley lowered his shoulder and knocked down corner Aaron Robinson. The defense didn’t take too kindly to it on the field and quickly the temperature began to raise. 

However, afterward Love tried to downplay the significance of the moment. 

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“I’m excited to see him run that hard. It’s something we want. He’s Saquon Barkley,” Love said. “He’s a number two pick. He’s a guy who’s big, strong and they call him, ‘Quads.’ That’s the type of running we want, really. It got a little hot out there, obviously, but when you cool off in the locker room, that’s the energy we want to see from him.

“I know we won’t get caught sleeping again, when that comes.”

The Giants are set to open their preseason schedule on Thursday against New England. 

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