But none of them want the guys in the red jersey to end up in the middle of the action. And that’s precisely what happened on Tuesday in Seattle.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck tried to intervene before a fight broke out between guard Mike Gibson and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson. Hasselbeck tried, and he failed.
“All the sudden there’s a red jersey in the pile and he said he thought
there was no way there was going to be a fight and that’s why he jumped
in,” coach Pete Carrol said, per SeattlePI.com.
Hasselbeck maintained his innocence. “I really had nothing to do with that,” Hasselbeck said. “I was pulling
my guy back and a fight broke out. . . . Bad place to be. Wrong place,
It was the first of several skirmishes on the day, which ultimately involved players like receiver Deion Branch, fullback Owen Schmitt, safety Lawyer Milloy, and tackle Russell Okung.
“These guys have been banging on each other for a couple weeks,” Carroll
said. “They’re ready to play another team and just turn the focus like
this game calls for. It’s not OK, but it’s understood that it’s going to
happen sometimes. We just have to learn to manage it.”
And that really is the challenge — teaching players when to flip the switch on, and then when to flip it off. For some, flipping it off while between the lines makes it a lot harder to move the switch back to the “on” position. That’s why plenty of coaches don’t try to stop their guys from mixing it up from time to time, even if it means that players will be at risk of injuring themselves and their teammates while swinging fists against hard pads and helmets.