Three years ago, Myles Garrett was suspended six games after swinging at Mason Rudolph’s helmet during the game. That precedent may soon become important as video emerged from Thursday’s Rams-Bengals joint practice of Aaron Donald doing the same thing.
In footage that appears to have been filmed by fans on Twitter (the media is rarely allowed at practice), Donald is seen brandishing a Bengals player’s helmet as a weapon during a practice fight. Although dusting is common in training camp and especially during practice, the helmet swing is taking it a little too far. Donald seems to end up with two hats – one in each hand – in the midst of the chaos, and is finally pinned to the ground.
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If the situation results in discipline that keeps Donald out of the regular season, it’s a big blow to the Rams, who could be without their best defensive player for a while. Donald hasn’t missed a game since 2017 and has never suffered a serious injury, making the All-Pro team seven years in a row.
Donald recorded more than 10 sacks for five straight seasons and made the Pro Bowl each year.
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However, the NFL is not responsible for policing the actions of players in practice – clubs are responsible for any fines.
Bengals coach Zach Taylor downplayed the fight after practice, which was called off immediately after the incident.
“It’s gotten a little ‘difficult,'” Taylor said. “So we called him. We were in the last session and got two. Best working days in So, was it worth going into the extra plays? no.”
Taylor added: “Emotions are high. We’ve been working together for a couple of days, and they’re some real competitive guys who are into it.
Rams coach Sean McVay got even hotter. The Athletic’s Jordan Rodrigue tweeted that an “angry” McVeigh jumped into the fray to stop further chaos.
“I don’t know what it is [it] It was,” McVeigh said. “I see guys swinging, and some guys with helmets on, some guys don’t, you never know what’s going to happen. My biggest concern is unnecessary injuries.”
Maybe it was bad blood left over from the Super Bowl where Donald’s Rams won a close contest over Cincinnati. Again, this conflict is more than is considered the norm in common practice.
What results will come from it – if any – will become clear in time.
This story originally appeared in the NY Post and has been edited with permission.