Riley Cooper says it wasn’t a big deal. Michael Vick said he hates to see it happen. Cary Williams didn’t say much of anything.
Cooper and Williams got into a scuffle during 1-on-1 receiver-defensive back drills early at practice Thursday at the NovaCare Complex, and it took a while for teammates to separate them.
Cooper tried to walk away after they tangled, but Williams followed him before being restrained.
“Just 1-on-1s, both being just super competitive, we’re going for the ball,” Cooper said after practice. “We had a tangle-up at the ball and just being competitive.
“We both went to the ground. There was a lot of contact at the top of the route. I mean, nothing happened. It was nothing.”
Williams, a fiery cornerback in his first year with the Eagles, was pretty level-headed in the days after a video was made public of Cooper yelling a racial slur at a security guard at a concert. At first, Williams said that while he didn't know Cooper very well, he though the receiver "just made a mistake," and later, Williams questioned the slur's frequent use in rap music.
Cooper said the exchange between the two had nothing to do with his role in the video.
“No, ya’ll saw it,” he said. “Just competitive, going to the ball. Got tangled up, both super competitive. He’s a great player.”
However, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, citing an unnamed player, Williams said, "I'm not a n- you [mess] with" more than once.
Cooper said he hasn’t heard any trash talking from opposing players or any references to the video since it emerged.
“[Things have] been normal, it’s been great,” he said. “Everything has been great. Everything is completely, 100 percent normal. I’m talking to everybody, everybody is talking to me.
“We’re all real close. Everybody, Cary included. He’s my boy. We’re both in the NFL. We’re both super competitive. We both want the ball. In 1-on-1s, he wants to have a pick, I want to have a reception. That’s just what it is.”
Brandon Boykin, DeSean Jackson and Vick were among the peacemakers in the moments immediately following the altercation, which came during the 30-minute portion of practice that’s open to the media and cameras.
“Cary’s a guy who’s very animated, who’s very angry sometimes, and that’s just how he is,” Vick said. “We know him, but we love him to death, we embrace him, we accept him.
“It was early. It was real early to be doing a 1-on-1 competitive period when practice just started, so both of those guys probably had a chip on their shoulder, and they’ve been going back and forth all summer, so it was bound to happen.
“I just don’t want those guys getting into those type of interactions as of right now. There are a lot of things that we’ve got to focus on, and they’ve got to understand the big picture.”
LeSean McCoy, who was very critical of Cooper when the incident was first made public, said things are back to normal in the locker room, although that didn’t happen immediately.
“In the beginning, when the whole situation happened, guys were different to him and didn’t really speak to him,” McCoy said. “They really didn’t know how to take it.
“But now, it seems like normal again. He’s interacting with every guy — the offense, the defense, myself. I made some comments about Riley, and then actually now I kind of focus on the old Riley that I knew before the incident, and that’s kind of where I get the satisfaction of, ‘You know, he’s a good guy.’ There is no difference between me and him and other guys.”
Boykin, the second-year cornerback, said there were no additional incidents between Cooper and Williams once practice was closed to the media.
“We broke it up, and they forgot about it,” he said. “We practiced and they guarded each other probably six or seven times after that and nothing happened. It’s not a big deal.”
Fights aren’t uncommon during training camp, but they are unusual once rosters are down to 53 and teams are preparing for a regular-season game.
The Eagles open Monday night against the Redskins at FedEx Field, their first game under new head coach Chip Kelly.
“We totally need to start playing another team,” Cooper said. “We’ve been going up against each other in camp and now during the season. We all want to play a different opponent, and Monday Night Football, so yeah, we’re all ready to rock and roll.
“Being game week, everyone has even stepped up their games just a little bit more, so in the 1-on-1s, it’s just that much more competitive.”