FOXBORO, Mass. — Tensions between New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler and Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery boiled over Monday during the teams’ joint training camp practice.
During 11-on-11 drills, Butler and Jeffery began jawing with one another after the whistle. That escalated to a shoving match, with each player grabbing the other’s facemask as they continued to tussle.
Before long, players from both teams joined in, but the sides were separated before the scrum could devolve into a full-blown brawl.
Butler was ejected from practice, and he jogged off the field toward the locker room. Jeffery, meanwhile, was allowed to watch the remainder of the session from the Bears’ sideline.
“I know (Patriots coach Bill Belichick) and I both made a big deal out of it,” Bears coach John Fox said after practice. “Our agreement was if anything happened like that, (the players involved) are out.”
The altercation was the first true fight of Patriots training camp, though center Bryan Stork and defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton were booted from a practice during organized team activities for scrapping after the whistle.
Another smaller skirmish involving Patriots tight end — and former Bear — Martellus Bennett broke out a short while later following a Stephen Gostkowski field goal try. New England tackle Nate Solder and Chicago linebacker Lamarr Houston also were involved.
The Patriots and Bears have two more joint practices scheduled — one Tuesday and another Wednesday — ahead of their preseason matchup Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images