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Chuck Pagano on fights during practice: "We are not going to tolerate it"

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano kicked two players out of practice today for fighting, and afterwards he told the media that, "we are not going to tolerate it."

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With a number of players competing and looking to earn a spot on the 53-man roster out of training camp, there's a lot of competition during Colts camp, and that has led to a few scuffles between offensive and defensive linemen over the past few days.  But today, things escalated to a different level as center Jonotthan Harrison and defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles got involved in a fight.

The two ended up going to the ground and being surrounded by a number of other teammates, as referees, players, and coaches tried to separate them.  Once things calmed down, Harrison and Quarles were "ejected" and sent to the locker room early for their role in the fight.  After practice, head coach Chuck Pagano told the media that fighting during camp wouldn't be tolerated.

"It's a time where tempers start to flare a little bit," Pagano said, "fuses are really short and we want to be competitive but not combative.  You probably saw a couple guys get after it a little bit, go over the line.  If that happens in a game you are gone, right?  They throw you out so you saw those two guys walk off the field and that is what happens, they are not available to play anymore.  They get the message, we compete at a high level but we do not go over the top of it."

"You got a bunch of guys that are trying to make a team and be evaluated and make an impression and do good," Pagano continued.  "So the competition is there and sometimes, again, guys are tired and they are sore and all that stuff.  Tempers flare and sometimes it gets over the top and we cannot tolerate it and we are not going to tolerate it because, like I said, if it happens in a game you are done.  They are going to hit them hard in their wallet number one, and it hurts the team.  If you are not available on game day when [you] dress 46 players that hurts the team.  You can't do it."

It's a fine line between being competitive and always working hard to earn a spot and then crossing the line when it comes to fighting.  For Chuck Pagano, that line seems to be this: if it would get you kicked out in a game, it'll get you kicked out in practice.  And he realizes that, when it gets to the regular season and there's only 46 players dressing on game day, the team can't afford to have a player kicked out of the game for doing something stupid, so he doesn't want to allow them to do that in practice either.  He wants to set the tone now for what players can and cannot do, so while he wants them to be tough and competitive, he wants them to be smart, control their emotions, and not get carried away with fighting.