Giants-Browns practice ends in heated fist fight


BEREA, Ohio — There were only a few more team periods remaining Friday afternoon, but Joe Judge and Kevin Stefanski had seen enough. It was a hot day and the Giants and Browns were getting friskier and friskier, so the head coaches halted the joint practice and got their respective teams in separate large group huddles.

“Just wanted to make sure we finished it strong and finished it smart,’’ Stefanski said. “Joe did the same thing with his team. The guys get it. It was hotter today. Obviously, down in the red zone, there is condensed space so the intensity was raised. That is OK. It is football. It is a physical game and it is an emotional game, But I was pleased with how the guys kept that in check.’’

Well, almost.

After the practice was completed, harsh words led to a few punches thrown between Giants receiver Sterling Shepard and Browns cornerback Troy Hill. The two were separated and Giants receiver John Ross lifted Shepard up to get him away from Hill.

Browns cornerback Troy Hill and Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard get into a fight during a joint practice on Friday.

Earlier, Hill drove his shoulder into Shepard after a reception on the right side. Shepard spun away, finished the play and then came back, got in Hill’s face, helmet-butted him and then jogged off.

Shepard did not address the altercation afterward.

“Friendly competition,’’ Shepard said. “That’s what we came out here for. It’s competition, It’s gonna get into a talking match, it’s gonna get physical out there, this is football. This is what we do. They understand that on their side, we understand that over here.’’

It was orderly and quite polite on Thursday and the Giants wanted to increase their intensity a day later.

“I think [Thursday], speaking for myself personally, but also just the feel of practice, it felt like people were kind of feeling each other out, feeling out the scheme — it felt like it was almost like the first day of pads in camp, just because it was our first time going against different competition,’’ defensive lineman Leonard Williams said. “And then today, I felt like we were flying around a little bit more, a little more sure of what type of reads I’m gonna get, what type of looks I’m getting, and it allowed me to play a little faster.’’

During the second week of training camp, Judge read his players the riot act — and then simply ran them into the ground — after a brawl marred a practice session. He was not going to allow that to happen against the Browns and Stefanski, a friend of Judge’s from their days playing high school football in suburban Philadelphia.

Browns cornerback Troy Hill and Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard get into a fight during a joint practice on Friday.

“Coach Judge had clear instructions from the get-go and wanted to make sure we played hard but kept it between the whistles and I thought we did that,’’ quarterback Daniel Jones said.

Shepard said raising the energy was a definite goal for Day 2.

“We kind of got a feel for it [Thursday] but we really didn’t have that juice that we had today,’’ Shepard said. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s why we came down here, to get good work. I felt that’s what we got.’’

And, a bit more than that, right after the practice ended.

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