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It’s hot. It’s humid. And the pads are popping.
As such, it only took three practices before the first fight of Ravens training camp took place. This year, it was offensive lineman Bryan Mattison and defensive lineman Arthur Jones to ring the bell.
The duo tangled at the line of scrimmage and drew teammates in from all sides to support their offensive or defensive brethren.
Afterwards, both players put the incident behind them.
“There are no hard feelings,” Mattison said with a chuckle. “We all compete. It’s hot out here, and tempers are just going a little bit.”
The ever-smiling Jones, one of the more affable members of the locker room, offered his explanation of the situation.
“I really don’t know what happened,” Jones said. “I think I had him beat and he just kind of drove me out of bounds a little bit after the play was over.”
The tone of practice ratcheted up after that, when the Ravens went to a full-team portion that was physical and highly competitive.
On the first series, the starting defense held the offense to a three-and-out, prompting linebacker Jarret Johnson to shout, “Let’s get off the field, boys!” On the next snap, Willis McGahee fumbled and safety Haruki Nakamura pounced on it to the delight of the defensive sideline.
The offense then recovered, driving to a field goal and a touchdown before practice was called.
“We’re both fighting for jobs,” Jones stated. “I think it kind of set the mood of practice. Guys were a little uplifted and guys were ready to hit after that. I don’t know, I was just out there competing and trying to get better.”