Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was a bit of an indictment on the media that all anyone could focus on when two NFL teams got together was how often they would fight, and his brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, accused the media of practically salivating over a negative moment to broadcast.
The teams made it three days with nary a skirmish -- wide receiver Steve Smith won the locker room pool -- and we were all left to ponder whether the brothers Harbaugh had helped the NFL turn over a new leaf on fight-free joint practices.
Then the Raiders and Cowboys happened. ESPN’s Tim McMahon has a blow-by-blow of the ugly scene out in Oxnard, Calif., in which a pair of team-wide brawls broke out at the end of practice that even got fans involved.
The Cowboys' team Twitter account even embraced the brawl, as if it was something to be proud of.
It’s not that I don’t condone fighting. I do. Training camp can get monotonous, and a good scrap is sometimes the perfect way to break up the daily grind.
But the Ravens haven’t gotten the best press lately, and I feel we should give them and San Francisco their due on this one. The joint practices were wildly productive and the headlines were all legitimate, on-field stories.
If nothing else comes out of those practices, we left them knowing how seriously the players took their coaches’ no-fighting admonishment — or maybe how strong the threats were.