You've seen the videos if you've been paying attention to training camps around the NFL. The videos of training camp fights, like those with the Dallas Cowboys, or those in joint practices like with the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams or the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins. Though they're just practices, tempers are flaring, and that's just escalated when two teams practice against each other.
That's why, as Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and Bears head coach John Fox agreed to before beginning the first of two joint practices on Wednesday, there's a big emphasis in Indianapolis this week on not fighting. On treating each other with respect. On doing things the right way.
Pagano has already taken a stand against training camp fights when he kicked Jonotthan Harrison and Kelcy Quarles out of a practice earlier this year for getting into his fight, as Pagano reiterated that fighting doesn't have any place and that, in a game, the players would have been kicked out. So that's what he did in practice.
Pagano and Fox both emphasized to their teams that fighting wasn't going to be tolerated. And guess what? On Wednesday, there weren't any fights between the two teams.
"I told them when we started training camp before we ever took the field," Pagano said Wednesday morning of his team. "First team meeting we had, I said if guys fight, if you do it in the game, they're going to throw you out and you're hurting the team. So you can't do it. If they cross the line and guys fight, then you guys saw two guys leave our practice field. So this is no different. Coach Fox is sending the same message that I send. We're here to make each other better. We're here to take care of each other. Treat them like we treat ourselves. It's not about the chirping and the jaw jacking and taking cheap shots. It's about getting better. They're here to make us better and vice versa. It won't be tolerated and you can't cross the line."
Veteran safety Mike Adams echoed the sentiments of his head coach. "We don't want to carry ourselves that way," Adams said. "I don't want to comment on what's been going on in other camps, but I know within this Colts organization we don't want to have that stigma. We don't want to have that tag that we're going out there starting fights and everything. That's just not us."
Another veteran defensive player, inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, reiterated that, while it's a great opportunity for the team and is "more of a game atmosphere," that still does't excuse fighting. "From what we've been watching the last couple of days there have been a lot of skirmishes breaking out and scuffles," Jackson said. "We started attacking this early on. If you throw a punch, if you get into a scuffle, either walkaway or you're getting sent in. [Pagano has] made that loud and clear."
It's possible to get a lot of good work in between two competing organizations and still do things the right way and still have a respect for each other. That's what the Colts and the Bears demonstrated on Wednesday, and while you might see videos of camp fights from around the league, this week in Indianapolis we simply saw two teams playing football - and respecting each other in the process.