Tempers flared at Pittsburgh Steelers practice on Monday.
While head coach Mike Tomlin refused to acknowledge the fight, several players and team insiders were able to confirm a scuffle between star wide receiver Chase Claypool and All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Defensive lineman Tyson Alualu was one of the players to acknowledge the fight after practice. He claims the touch-up was a product of this year’s hotly-contested preseason.
“I think we’re still in that training camp mode where it’s that competitive edge. People are getting chippy,” Alualu said, per Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think it’s just part of the game. I don’t think it’s anything you have to look into. It’s part of the game. It’s part of football. But we understand we don’t want — especially our star players — we don’t want anyone getting hurt. We’ve got to be more smart.”
Steelers left guard Kevin Dotson wasn’t too shocked with the fight, especially between two competitors like Claypool and Fitzpatrick.
“I just saw a big pile. I didn’t really see what went on,” Dotson said. “You come out here and you’re pretty much fighting a person for two hours. Eventually, something might happen. That’s been happening since little league.
“[Claypool and Fitzpatrick] are two of our biggest competitors, so I kind of almost expect it to happen at least once.”
Tomlin gathered the team in a post-practice huddle. While the head coach refused to reveal his message from this meeting, Batko said it was about being smart and making sure no one gets injured before the start of their 2021 season.
The Steelers will kickoff their season with a Week 1 matchup against the Buffalo Bills next week.
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