Spartanburg, S.C. — After a competitive two hours with the Carolina Panthers under the South Carolina sun, Ravens coach John Harbaugh opened his news conference Wednesday by calling the teams’ first joint practice “spirited” and “hard-fought.”
Especially the part about 25 minutes earlier, when a fight nearly did break out.
Late in the padded practice, Ravens wide receiver Binjimen Victor caught a short pass over the middle from quarterback Tyler Huntley. Panthers rookie cornerback Keith Taylor came up to make the stop, and as Victor tried to elude him, Taylor hit him low enough and hard enough that Victor went spinning to the ground — a no-no during “thud” drills.
Wide receiver James Proche II, watching nearby, took exception to the hit and confronted Taylor, shoving him away. Another Panthers player pushed Victor. Soon a scrum was forming around the players, whistles were blowing, harsh words were flying, and players on the other side of the field were running over. Right tackle Alejandro Villanueva got in the middle of the scrum. Safety Geno Stone lost his helmet at one point.
“Emotions flying, being competitive, things like that are going to happen,” tight end Mark Andrews said. “But there was nothing too serious that happened.”
Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters and defensive back-linebacker Anthony Levine Sr., who arrived from the adjacent practice field, at one point were engaged in an animated conversation with Panthers rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn on the periphery of the scrum. But tempers cooled, and Peters and Horn shook hands before parting ways.
“It just broke out, and everybody came from the sideline, just to help their teammates, just like anybody would,” Horn told reporters. “Like I said, just two physical teams going at it.”
Afterward, Harbaugh didn’t seem bothered by the confrontation. On Monday, he’d said the teams would enter the joint practices with the “same mindset.”
“Tempers are going to flare at some point in time,” he said Wednesday. “It was a good practice. I thought both teams took care of one another. Tried to do a good job with that. That’s it. We’re moving on.”