By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) – The Los Angeles Rams’ second joint training session with the Las Vegas Raiders ended early when the teams had an extended brawl on Thursday.
The fight began while the special teams were working and began and ended several times before coaches Sean McVay and Jon Gruden decided to skip the remaining practice times, which were scheduled for another 45 minutes.
“Everyone knows better,” said Gruden. “Not everyone fought. It will be on TV. You’ll see a lot of guys screaming and screaming, but there were two guys on a special team stage and then it was a lot of trash talk that just escalated. Just disgusting, really, it’s just stupidity, but I’m done with that. It’s child’s play for me. “
The culprits were not easily identified among the crowd of players working on punt blocking and punt coverage outside of the Rams’ training complex, but punches appeared to be being taken by both teams.
Gruden and McVay weren’t happy about the interruption of the training plan for the Raiders and the Rams, who will meet again on Saturday evening in a pre-season game at the SoFi stadium. When the fight finally calmed down, Gruden could be heard ordering his players from the field: “To the bus!”
McVay, Gruden’s Tampa Bay employee 13 years ago, called the battle “unfortunate.” The Rams finished training against themselves while the Raiders boarded buses back to their hotel.
“I thought we did a lot of good work,” said McVay. “We only had a little bit left and it felt like the best decision, based just on the temperature of the situation, was to bag the last eight games of the team period that we had.”
All-pro Aaron Donald took a day off for the Rams, but wasn’t surprised to see what was happening on the sidelines.
“It’s soccer, man,” said Donald. “To be honest, in every group practice I’ve ever attended, there’s always an argument. The way things happened yesterday, how physical it was, I was pretty sure it would come back and be a lot of BS. “
The teams had a few minor dropouts in the first training session on Wednesday, but nothing that significantly disrupted the flow. The Raiders defense was the biggest winner from opening practice and showed a solid performance against the Rams’ reconfigured offense under quarterback Matthew Stafford.
A Brouhaha Wednesday kicked off after Raiders running back Josh Jacobs received an eager hit from All-Pro Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Jacobs later tweeted, “I love this team.”
“(It was) definitely about how the whole situation was handled,” Jacobs said when asked what his tweet meant. “When you look at our boys and see how we reacted and see their boys and how they just let some things happen … I mean, I like the fact that our team has the fighting spirit, and not just that, but them had him. “each other are back.”
While the battle wasn’t caused by the historical rivalry between these two venerable franchises, it reflected that tension. The Rams and Raiders play in different divisions, but they share a common history with Los Angeles that continues today, 27 years after the Raiders left town.
The Raiders are probably still the most popular team in the metropolitan area due to their Generation X and early Millennial fans from the franchise’s mostly successful 13-year run at the Coliseum while the Rams were based in Anaheim.
The Rams have been the most popular team in the LA market since returning home five years ago, but overtaking the Raiders could require a generation change.
The Rams and Raiders just have to wait until Saturday for the next chapter of their rivalry. Thousands of Raiders fans are expected at SoFi.
“The emotions get a bit higher when you introduce another team, but we have to try to get past that,” said Raiders Offensive Tackle Kolton Miller, a UCLA product. “In any case, we have our backs on each other. But it’s something we don’t want it to get in the way in practice.”
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