The New York Giants’ first day of padded practice at training camp ended abruptly Tuesday when coach Joe Judge angrily addressed and punished his players for a teamwide brawl that included starting quarterback Daniel Jones at the bottom of the pile.
Judge could be heard delivering an expletive-laden tirade at his team after the scuffle. He had them alternate running laps and doing pushups as punishment. Then the group assembled after more than 10 minutes of penalty-induced conditioning in a semicircle for one last lambasting before practice suddenly ended.
“Yeah, there are consequences for that kind of stuff,” Jones said. “That is the way it is in a game. You have to keep your cool. There are consequences, and it hurts your team. That was the message. I think everyone understands.”
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The incident started when tight end Evan Engram retaliated after a late hit to running back Corey Clement. Safety Logan Ryan then came and leveled Engram from behind. The rest of the team, including Jones, then jumped into the melee, which drew immediate ire from the coaching staff. Nobody could’ve figured what was about to come next.
Jones was plucked out of the pile by offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins. Judge then started lacing into the group as a whole.
When asked why he got involved in the brawl, Jones responded that he is “part of the team.” His involvement did not go unnoticed.
“Hey, golly. I love it,” Clement said. “At the same time, we don’t want to get our quarterback hurt. Pretty sure Daniel knows that as well. I hope he thinks twice before jumping back in there again.”
But it did earn him some additional cred in the locker room.
“Yeah, s—,” Clement added. “That’s what you want to see. Even though he’s not supposed to be doing that, hats off to him because you want to see a lot of guys do that.”
Jones said he wasn’t injured during the fight and the Giants needed to “do a better job of controlling” their emotions and excitement during the intense padded practice and games. This seemed to be Judge’s primary contention after the fight.
Jones said the players “got the message.”
It took approximately 12 minutes of 100-yard wind sprints and two sets of pushups to get the point across. But the incident perfectly illustrated the two sides of Judge. After yelling incessantly at his team for a long stretch, the second-year head coach walked off the field and over to his awaiting family, where he embraced his youngest daughter with a big birthday hug and accompanying smile. Ryan, meanwhile, had no qualms about defending his teammate. He views that as part of his job as a team leader.
“I’m going to pay my punishments,” he said. “I don’t regret anything I did out there. I was protecting my guys. At the end of the day, I’m a grown man. Going to pay my dues. That’s what this is about.”
Clement also downplayed the incident.
“It’s football,” he said.
None of the Giants players seemed to think it would lead to any problems in the locker room. In fact, they thought it would only make them stronger.
Clement even mentioned how back in the locker room moments after the melee, they were already back to joking as if nothing had happened.
“Football is a great sport because even though you take some blows, it brings you together as a family,” he said. “It doesn’t carry over. We all understand the nature for the game. You get hit, you get back up. If you don’t want to be a part of it, you can’t cry about it. A hit is a hit.
“I’m not taking nothing else from it. I’ve been hit before. I’ve been hit all my life, so keep bringing it on. It’s training camp.”
The hits and fights certainly were not unique. They happen at just about every training camp every year. But it was Jones’ actions and Judge’s reactions that seemed to make this one different.
Not to Ryan, a veteran who has won a pair of Super Bowls with Judge when they were together in New England.
“Like I said, wasn’t my first time part of a training camp fight. Wasn’t my first lap, wasn’t my first F-bomb, my first pushup,” Ryan said. “I’ve been in there for quite some time. It’s not necessary all the time, but I understand there is a lot of passion out there. And I’ll take passion.”