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Brawling Bills continue their pugnacious play

Brawling Bills continue their pugnacious play Bills head coach Doug Marrone.

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PITTSFORD – Doug Marrone is doing his best to adhere to the first rule of Fight Club – that being, don’t talk about Fight Club – but his team is leaving him no choice.

Another scuffle broke out Thursday during the Bills’ final practice of training camp at St. John Fisher College. Early in team work, receiver Marquise Goodwin and cornerback Sam Miller went facemask to facemask after competing for a throw. Marrone then stopped practice after the next play. There didn’t appear to be any punches thrown, but the coach was clearly fed up with something he saw or heard on the field.

“Get your (expletive) right,” he screamed at the team as he ordered them to line up on the sideline to run a sprint.

Defensive end Jerry Hughes said something back to the coach, leading Marrone to direct a string of expletives at him, saying at one point “you don’t have to play on this team.” Hughes’ teammates implored him to step away from the confrontation.

Following practice, Marrone pulled Hughes out of the defensive line’s huddle for a conversation.

“I told Jerry that I love the way he practices and I love the way he plays special teams – how he goes about it,” Marrone said. “We’ve got to get some other guys who are starters to do that, too. That was my conversation with him.”

Marrone denied that he was talking directly to Hughes during his outburst.

“That’s directed to anyone that doesn’t want to be a part of the team,” he said.

At Wednesday’s practice, a full-scale brawl erupted, with center Eric Wood and defensive end Bryan Johnson at the center of it. Wood, who suffered a cut on his nose, yelled “I’ll (expletive) kill you!” at Johnson several times.

Marrone made it clear then his disdain for fighting. So why did it happen again Thursday?

“Lack of respect,” the coach said.

Respect for the game, respect for coaches or respect for other players, Marrone was asked.

“All. Check one, check two and check three,” he said.

Marrone then said he’d “handle it myself, personally,” when asked how he’d go about changing that.

“Guys I’m going to say it again, and I’m not going to answer another question. We’re responsible for the integrity of the game,” he said. Can you figure it out? Figure it out. We’re responsible for the integrity of the game. There is no use for fighting in the game of football. Period. End of discussion. Move on.”

That’s something his team hasn’t been able to do up to this point.

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams – who did not practice Thursday because of a leg injury – spent considerable time talking with Marrone after the blow up.

“I think it was important for him to voice his point of view and his opinion on what was going on, and make sure he got that across to the team, which he did,” Williams said. “And make sure that everybody understood, you know, what’s at stake here.”

Williams, 31, is a team captain and one of the most respected voices in the locker room. He also pulled Hughes aside at one time.

“We just talked about being a pro and making sure we keep it that way all the time,” Williams said.

The Bills opened camp July 20. They’ve had more than 20 padded practices since then. The most common explanation among players is that tensions start to run high in that amount of time.

“We’ve been here awhile. We’ve been hitting each other awhile. That kind of thing spills over from time to time, but at a certain point, you have to be a professional and understand that there are guys here trying to make the team that are out here competing,” Williams said. There are times that you’ve just got to walk away from it.”

What was unusual about Marrone’s outburst Thursday is that it came in a public setting – albeit without fans – in front of media members.

“I mean, he’s a fiery guy. That’s not the first time that he’s been adamant or passionate about anything. He’s like that all the time,” Williams said. “That’s nothing new – it’s just a different subject.”

Cornerback Leodis McKelvin sat out practice with a groin injury. Marrone said he hasn’t been cleared by doctors to play in Saturday’s home preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but that could change prior to kickoff.

Tight end Tony Moeaki (hamstring), cornerback Mario Butler (ankle), cornerback Bobby Felder (groin) and safety Jonathan Meeks (neck) also sat out practice Thursday.

email: jskurski@buffnews.com

  • Paul Kawalerski

    This website is turning into a joke. Images that show half a body, links that don't work, now my browser gives me errors when I open it sometimes. The Buffalo News has got to be the most amateur reporting site I have ever run across. It makes me sick to think that this is the way Buffalo is represented in the media.

  • Cannibal King

    The picture caption should read, "Bills headless coach Doug Marrone". Nice picture [BN]... solid editing as usual.

    • Leah P

      hahahahahahahaha ^THIS

      • rome middlesex

        which head is running the team leah? Maybe BN is trying to tell us something?! now it all makes sense

  • Leah P

    Wow these photos are great. Who wouldnt want to see the lucious thighs of, who is that? I dont know because I cant see his face. I am on Internet Explorer, which is the worst browser ever, but have checked this issue with Firefox and Chrome and it is consistent across the board. Maybe tomorrow can we see the players faces? or maybe their little feets?

  • badass@buffalo.com

    It kills me to think "I wonder if the Pat's Site Constantly has pics of ppl's crotches instead of faces" There is just no way! Its so embarrassing! Its hard enough to Back up Buffalo in South FL. The Buffalo News doesn't have to make it harder with this nonsense.

    • rome middlesex

      omfg I lived in sFl wow. made money but it blew !!! your on the money, we are never going anywhere as long as fans and media do not address the accuracy issue with ej. I like him as a person, my problem is the front office has done nothing to improve this position as a whole, collectively its the worst staff in NFL, not even arguable......

  • William Kyriakakos

    Actually it's about time the Bill's show some attitude. The Seattle Times reported the Bills fights as "the first signs of life from Buffalo in a long time"

  • LT

    Finally some fight out of the Bills - ummm save it for the real games.
    Yikes I see another losing season here !

  • Nickel ciTee

    Nothing wrong with some training camp scuffles. Don't P on the fire yet Marrone.
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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.