Riley Cooper and Cary Williams throw down ahead of NFL opener.
Philadelphia wide receiver Riley Cooper and cornerback Cary Williams got into a scuffle at practice Thursday, days before the Eagles’ NFL season-opener at Washington.
Cooper insisted the incident had nothing to do with the racial slur Cooper was caught on video using at a concert in June.
Cooper offered an abject apology, paid a fine and underwent counseling after what he called a “disgusting” display, but he has acknowledged that it may take some time before his comments are forgotten by opponents and teammates alike.
Williams, a former Baltimore Raven known for aggressive play, was covering Cooper on a practice play that ended up with both players on the ground, and both jumping up angry.
Video of the confrontation, provided by CSN Philly, showed Williams tearing off his helmet and talking angrily to Cooper even after they separated.
Quarterback Michael Vick tried to calm down Williams, before DeSean Jackson eventually walked Williams away.
Williams declined to discuss the incident, while Cooper told reporters that tempers flared after he and Williams tangled going for the ball.
“We both ended up on the ground — which you don’t want to do in practice, especially in the season,” Cooper said. “No one wants to end up on the ground going for a ball because that’s when injuries happen.”
Vick, no stranger to controversy having returned to the NFL after serving a prison sentence for his role in a dog fight gambling ring, said regardless of what started the fight, players need to keep their composure.
“Our maturity level’s got to be on a whole different plane,” Vick said.
He added that he expected his teammates to be focused on their Monday night season-opener against NFC East division rivals Washington.
“It’s game week,” Vick said. “We don’t have time for that.”