Fight at Saints camp could lead to more OTA sanctions

Fights during offseason workouts used to simply provide a break in the shorts-and-T-shirts monotony.  Now, they could be providing evidence of potential violations of the offseason rules against live contact.

And the next team to find that out the hard way could be the hard-luck Saints.

The Seahawks lost a pair of OTA days on Tuesday, based presumably on rough play that preceded a series of skirmishes last month during a voluntary practice.  Receiver Doug Baldwin reportedly was hit hard by safety DeShawn Shead.  KJR’s Curtis Crabtree said during Wednesday’s PFT Live that a hit on receiver Ben Obamanu also triggered a fracas that same day.

On Wednesday, tempers ran high at Saints minicamp, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.  It happened after linebacker Curtis Lofton landed on quarterback Chase Daniel after an interception.  Daniel threw the ball down, it hit Lofton, other players got involved (as the photo Rapoport posted on Twitter shows), and Daniel shouted, “Don’t hit the quarterback!

Daniel later explained the reaction.  “We really only have three quarterbacks there, so we don’t like to get hit at all,” Daniel said. “Because the slightest of hits can cause a serious injury as we’ve seen. It wasn’t necessary in frustration, I was just mad that he literally just ran into it. We cleared it up, we’re good. Everything’s good to go.  It’s hot, we’re in the middle of practice, emotions flying everywhere and that’s what happened.”

Lofton offered up his version of the events. “I thought [Daniel] was going to throw it, I jumped up, I kinda grazed him and quarterbacks are a little touchy when it comes to stuff like that,” Lofton said. “And then I was walking away and he gave me the look like . . . I was like, ‘He better not do that.’ And so he threw the ball, it bounced and then it hit me. I had to have words after that.”

It was more than words.  It was action.  And the action came after, as Daniel admitted, “emotions [were] flying.”

So why, if there’s no live contact, are emotions flying?

Interim coach Joe Vitt tried to laugh it all off. “I think we’ll probably take ‘em to a petting zoo tomorrow,” Vitt said. “Maybe do something like that.  But yeah, it was great.”

Fine, but there will be nothing funny about an effort by the NFL and the NFLPA to explore whether and to what extent the fight and the events preceding it constituted live contact.  Since the NFL won’t tell anyone exactly what got the Seahawks in trouble, it’s impossible to use anything from that situation as guidance when determining whether the Saints crossed the line.

But “no live contact” apparently now means “no live contact,” and contact during plays that result in contact after plays fits within the normal, common-sense definition of contact.  And so it looks like there was something like live contact happening in New Orleans today.

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50 responses to “Fight at Saints camp could lead to more OTA sanctions

  1. LOL a petting zoo…I love Joe Vitt. He’s like Jim Mora (the father’s) brother from another mother.

  2. Welcome to the new NFL. In a couple of short years the league will resemble a federal government agency ruined by over regulation more than a viable sport.

  3. First the Saints were too hard on opposing teams and now they’re too hard on their own guys? Who are they allowed to hit these days!?!?

  4. Bit of a reach here. It says that Lofton jumped at what he thought was going to be a pass and brushed against Daniel. Then Daniel threw the ball at Lofton’s feet.

    No need to make something out of nothing.

  5. Easy answer for why this happened. Saints Defense had a bounty on Chase Daniel.

  6. speculation is been all you media people write about,all the reporters there,Including NFL network reporter,an none made a big deal about it..

  7. I hate the Saints, but this is stupid. You honestly think hyper-competitive professional athletes have to have contact drills to get emotions flowing and have stuff like this happen? C’mon… This stuff happens in practices at all levels be is HS, college, or NFL.

  8. Daniel shouted (squealed?), “Don’t hit the quarterback!“

    Don’t hit the quarterback??? Mr Daniels, please return your man card, put on your tutu and go back to bowling.

  9. Sounds like a good way to get out of practicing. Just start a fight and they will “punish” you by taking away future OTAs!

  10. So why, if there’s no live contact, are emotions flying?


    Umm… my guess would be because it’s the competitive game of football. Emotions fly on this website all the time.

  11. I don’t think the NFL will investigate this. Or, if they do, they will find nothing.

    I think the NFL doesn’t want anymore headlines out there involving the Saints in any fashion. The league has enough controversial publicity involving the Saints as it is.

    Also, anybody notice how the Saints “wiretapping” scandal has quietly gone away? (When Loomis threatened to sue for defamation, you’ll notice those news stories dried up quite quickly.) — Nobody wants to mess with the Saints right now…there’s enough controversy and lawsuits already.

  12. i was at practice today and yesterday. there is no live contact going on. they are just competitive. but i’m sure the hate comments from peopleon here are coming

  13. So Chase Daniel threw the ball and it was intercepted. Then after the interception, Lofton landed on Daniel who somehow got the ball back from the intercepting player and thew it at Lofton? Or did Lofton actually intercept it and run into Daniel?

    It’s not clear how Chase Daniel could throw an interception and then throw the ball at Daniel.

  14. I don’t even want to know how bad Goodell will punish the Saints now that there is ACTUALLY some evidence that they got a little to physical. I’m thinking “indefinite” suspension for the franchise, maybe a few 1st round picks, a cool million dollar fine….Heck, we’ve seen what he will do with no evidence. I should say no “known” evidence, but if Goodell doesn’t have to offer any evidence/justification/reasoning/proof/logic/fairness/etc for anything (everything?) he does, why should I?

  15. As a Bears fan I love these new CBA rules. You see Lovie Smith has been running a country club for years. Now that other teams arn’t allowed to practice hard it really levels the playing field. There is barely even any contact in Bears training camp.

  16. Roger Goodell has absolutely no evidence that any of this occurred, and Drew Brees definitely wants an explanation.

  17. So why, if there’s no live contact, are emotions flying?

    Because they’re football players not lawyers.

  18. I understand that the coaches are running the practices but if the policy of “if a player even grazes another player=OTA cancellation” seems a little bit ridiculous since its the players that are causing it. Seems a little bit ridiculous to cancel 2 OTA’s just because of a harmless little scrum started by the PLAYERS.

  19. The NFL isn’t the one that implemented this rule. It also won’t be the one policing it. The NFLPA fought for these rules to be put in place and they will bring bird dog it until the NFL applies a sanction.

    Don’t blame the NFL for players not wanting to hit each other.

  20. Get used to it…soon enough….this rule will be used during regular season games.

  21. WOW, teams are getting penalized cause players get into it at practice? This is not football anymore, this is becoming a joke. In high school we practiced hard, fully physical, got in to skirmishes, and at the end of the day were best friends. These things the players & the NFL are eliminating are the same things that build team comradery. But hey, how do you build a team when everyone’s motive is all about money?

  22. Dont blame the NFL for this one. It was the Union (players) that insisted that this be written into the last contract and was agreed to by the league.

  23. we sitting here and chase daniels is suppose to be sitting in for the franchise player and we sitting here talking bout practice…not a game..not a game..but practice..we talkin bout practice?..i mean what are we talkin bout?..practice!?

  24. Ok there was some contact guess what it was pushing into the 100’s via the heat index in New Orleans today. I get angry cutting my grass in this heat much less having to practice. It’s like a steam room outside how can you not expect guys to be a little testy. I am now awaiting Mr. Godell’s ruling that teams will no longer be able to practice in weather over 80 degrees least a little emotions boil over.

    If the saints get punished that’s fine just chalk it up with the rest of the BS going on in this league today. Let’s see you can’t say bad stuff about your opponent in your own locker room prior to a game, you can’t have your players reward one another for making good LEGAL defensive plays, and now you evidently can’t get angry at practice. It’s par for the course I guess.
    If Jon Villma is suspended for the season for saying unsportsmanlike things about his opponent prior to a game I guess Curtis Loftin is inline for a 2 year suspension, right Mr. Comish?

    God-dell needs to take a long walk off a short pier with cement boots on.

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