Well that was likely the most interesting mini-camp practice one could see.
It may have been June, but emotions ran as heated as January as the Seahawks went through their second of three mini-camp practices, one punctuated by a fight between cornerback Richard Sherman and receiver Phillip Bates (depicted above in a Bettina Hansen photo).
The fracas came after a play where receiver Bryan Walters hurt his shoulder when he made a diving catch on the sideline and hurt his shoulder. Safety Earl Thomas was defending and while it was a little hard to tell how much contact there was — these are no pads practices and contact is supposed to be avoided as much as possible — offensive players appeared to think Thomas had maybe landed on Walters.
Offensive players complained loudly, feeling the defensive players were being a little too physically. The defensive players barked back that the offensive players had protesteth too much. On the next play, Sherman was covering Bates in the slot and the two locked up running down the field, which then turned into punches — Bates appearing to deliver the first blow after Bates’ helmet had come off. The players from both sides quickly joined in and broke things up. Still, emotions remained heated for a while. UPDATE — Here is some video of the two plays from KOMO, as well as a few comments from Thomas. And here is some video from KING-5.
Receiver Doug Baldwin and Thomas jawed at each other for a while, and Percy Harvin also stomped around angrily. Harvin was not practicing at this point, having called it a day after an earlier play. We didn’t see that play so unclear what happened there — Harvin didn’t appear seriously hurt. In fact, the only real casualty appeared Walters, who had his shoulder wrapped, though he stayed on the sidelines.
Playing peacemaker throughout was Marshawn Lynch, present but again sitting out of action, at one point holding Harvin back (Lynch actually spent some of practice talking with owner Paul Allen, who also got a good look at the brawl).
After the session ended, coach Pete Carroll called the team together at mid-field, reminding them that they were all part of one team.
“It was just to keep focused,” linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “We let little things get out of hand a little bit, but it was just to remain focused and understand why we’re out here. We’re out here to get better. We did that. I feel like we got better.”
After a few minutes, practice resumed, and in what may or may not have been a coincidence, Pharrell Willams’ “Happy” was soon playing.
And while there was a bit more jawing, the rest of practice went fairly peacefully. Sherman and Bates later met and shook hands, with Russell Wilson also joining in a huddle that ended in smiles. And Harvin and Sherman did a light-hearted recreation of it all on the sidelines a little later.
Carroll did not meet the media afterward, but defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said “really just they are such a tight group of guys that they don’t want to give an inch sometimes, both offensively and defensively. Most good teams are close and tight like that where they can practice like that. They were just having fun.”
That was a common refain of those who did talk, that in general it spoke to the competitive nature of Seattle’s practice, and all seemed well as practice ended.
While the rest of practice ensued without any more scuffling, it was definitely intense.
Shortly after it resumed, Wilson hit Paul Richardson for a 57-yard TD that was much enjoyed by the offense, with the rookie somersaulting into the end zone (And I’ll add a clarification that it wasn’t really a show-boat somersault but more due to Richardson reaching for pass and leaning forward as he was running. And yes, for those questioning, it was maybe more of a flip).
Thomas, though, got his revenge a little later when he picked off a Wilson pass intended for Zach Miller and headed down the sidelines, with Richardson appearing to stop a TD. Sherman also had an interception after the fracas, jawing all the way.
“Guys here are different,” Thomas said. “We’re never satisfied. We’re always trying to prove who we are, and it always gets heated like this. And you love it because the whole competition of everybody is raised.”
As for a couple of other notes from practice:
— Rookie WR Kevin Norwood sat out with an undetermined injury, though he was seen having his leg worked on on Tuesday.
— LBs Korey Toomer and Horace Miller also sat out. Otherwise, the personnel situation was the same with guys coming off surgeries all sitting out and everyone else accounted for.