FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — It didn’t take long for one of the newest members of the New England Patriots to make some noise in training camp.
Defensive back Stephon Gilmore, who signed a five-year, $65 million deal with the team in March, tangled with wide receiver Julian Edelman, resulting in the ejection of both players from Tuesday morning’s practice session.
Edelman and Gilmore, who were matched up during an 11-on-11 red zone drill during the latter portion of practice, got tangled up in the back of the end zone. As a pass from Jacoby Brissett to Edelman fell incomplete, the fiery wide receiver took exception to Gilmore’s physical play and wrestled him to the ground before coaches and teammates separated the two.
Both players’ helmets were off by the end of the scuffle.
“That stuff happens and everyone knows Jules is a fiery guy,” Devin McCourty, a team captain, said. “I think the biggest thing is those two positions compete all day. Whether it’s individual release drills, one-on-ones, 7-on-7 — it’s the same guys.
“I think the greatest thing about our team is that all that stuff happens on the field, it’s football, it never carries over to the locker room. We understand we’re out here to get better and those two guys will come back out here tomorrow and compete at a high level again.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a non-negotiable practice rule: No fights. If you do fight, you are ejected.
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks said he “absolutely” agrees with Belichick’s policy.
“There’s no time to waste,” he said.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Gilmore, who is noted for his length and physical play, gives the Patriots another option when matching up against some of the bigger receivers who have become more prevalent across the NFL.
Gilmore spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills, amassing 14 interceptions in 68 games, including five picks in 15 games last season.
Linebacker David Harris said that “there is no animosity off the field.”
“They are just trying to win, to compete every play, and once the next play starts it is forgotten about,” he said. “They’re not holding any grudges, or anything like that. It is part of training camp — it’s hot, people are miserable, tired of going against each other. That’s part of the grind of training camp — every player on every team goes through it.”