A heated confrontation between starting safeties Earl Thomas III and Chuck Clark punctured the tranquility of the Ravens’ first week of training camp Friday.
A sideline argument escalated with about 15 minutes left in the morning practice. Clark had to be held back by teammates, while Thomas appeared to ball his fists as Clark approached him. The first scuffle of camp halted practice for a minute, and tempers seemed to cool.
After a couple of plays in the red zone, Clark again moved toward Thomas, who by then was standing near one end of the cluster of players on the sideline. As their argument renewed, cornerback Marlon Humphrey had to restrain Clark, who left the practice field soon thereafter. Defensive back Anthony Levine Sr. walked him back to the team facility.
Thomas returned to 11-on-11 action before moving into positional drills. Clark’s scheduled post-practice video conference was canceled. Neither safety has been made available to reporters since camp opened.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said afterward that he didn’t see what had prompted the confrontation. The circumstances were unusual, as this was not a padded practice, and players on the same side of the ball, much less the same position group, rarely scuffle.
“We’ll find out the details of it,” Harbaugh said. “It just lasted longer than it needed to for me. You’re going to have these things in training camp. I think you’re going to have tempers flare, sure. It happens every training camp, especially right about now, probably. But I don’t like them when they extend like that and eat into our reps, and we’re going to have to find out why and make sure that doesn’t happen. We need to keep our eye on the prize, which is preparing for the [Cleveland] Browns.”
Inside linebacker L.J. Fort said “squabbles” like Thursday’s are inevitable in training camp.
“At the end of the day, it’s just football,” he said. “Stuff like that’s going to happen. You want stuff like that to happen. ... At the end of the day, there’s no ill will toward anybody. It’s just what it is.”