FOXBORO, Mass. — Offseason football practices typically are hot, tiring, competitive affairs, and occasionally, that combination can cause players to lose their cool.
That’s exactly what happened Wednesday at the practice fields outside Gillette Stadium, as a post-whistle scrum broke out with just a few minutes remaining in Day 2 of mandatory New England Patriots minicamp. As a result, offensive lineman Bryan Stork and undrafted rookie defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton both were ejected from practice.
Neither Stork nor Hamilton spoke to the media after the session, but a few of their teammates preached the importance of controlling your emotions during what is a stressful time for many players.
“Football’s an emotional game,” Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “And your emotions are going to get the best of you at times, especially when we’re out here competing and everybody’s competing for a job. We like to see the competitiveness of the practices, but we have to be smart. We all know that numbers are limited at this level, and we have to take care of one another as we practice.
“So we have to be smart about that, but at the same time, you like the competitive nature of practice, so it’s a double-edged sword.”
Guard Jonathan Cooper, who is participating in his first Patriots minicamp after coming over from the Arizona Cardinals in the Chandler Jones trade, offered a similar take.
“It’s an intense game, so it happens,” Cooper said. “But honestly, it’s just work. Just continue to work and realize that sometimes (tempers) may flare, but handle it to the best of your ability on your field and not doing anything out of regulation.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick also addressed the scrap, although only briefly.
“I don’t know,” Belichick said when asked if there was an argument between Stork and Hamilton. “You’ll have to ask them.”
The Patriots will wrap up their three-day minicamp Thursday.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images