Tensions flare and punches fly in Ravens first joint practice with Commanders

Published 8/15/2023 2:48 p.m. EDT

Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera delivered a potent message to his team leading up to joint practices against the Ravens this week.

“We don’t want any bullshit,” were his words.

Well, it didn’t take long for players who’ve been stuck competing mostly against teammates to completely ignore that sentiment.

Tensions flared at the first of two joint practices between the Commanders and Ravens when practices got underway Tuesday morning at the Under Armour Performance Center. Multiple fights broke out between players from opposing sidelines.

It started when Ravens wide receiver Tylan Wallace and Commanders cornerback Emmanuel Forbes sparred during team period after a play. Wallace and Forbes traded punches, leading to several other players jumping in and joining the fray. That included receiver Devin Duvernay, who came from behind Forbes and threw him to the ground, as well as receiver Laquon Treadwell, who threw a punch:

That energy continued on the very next play when tight end Mark Andrews body slammed Commanders cornerback Danny Johnson on the turf. Again, several players jumped in the fray, including offensive tackle Morgan Moses, who punched a player from behind. Coaches called both teams to midfield when it ended to cool down.

The final incident came when Ravens defensive back Ar’Darius Washington cleared the benches with a late shove on Commanders tight end Cole Turner.

Despite the fights, Harbaugh thought practice was productive and said he was happy with how quickly they were handled on the field.

“Joint practices are a challenge, always, obviously, because you’ve got two teams out here and there’s a lot of pride,” Harbaugh said. “I thought it was a really good practice. We had a couple dust ups which you don’t want to see but it’s not really unexpected. I thought they got handled pretty quickly. We called the guys up there over on our offensive field and talked to our guys and (Commanders coach) Ron (Rivera) talked to their guys and after that it was calmed down. I felt good about that.”

Rivera said the message he sent to his team was to not take anything personal and move to the next play.

“It can’t be chippy,” Rivera told reporters. “It can’t be about yourself. It’s not personal, you get beat, you get beat. Let’s just move to the next thing and focus on what’s happening, what’s important. Everybody’s trying to get better, but the chippiness you just can’t have because it just doesn’t make sense.”

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Fighting and scuffles have been common at joint practices throughout NFL training camps this summer. It’s hot. Players are fighting for coveted roster spots. Last Wednesday, a brawl broke out in Cincinnati between the Bengals and Packers. There were a few skirmishes at the Falcons and Dolphins joint practices, as well as shoving in practices between the Jets and Panthers.

The second Ravens and Commanders joint practice starts at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The teams will play a preseason game next Monday at FedEx Field at 8:00 p.m.