Long Eagles practices spark fisticuffs

Derek Landri (left) blocks Trent Cole during afternoon training camp drills, which got a little testy Sunday at Lehigh University. Yong Kim / Staff Photographer
Derek Landri (left) blocks Trent Cole during afternoon training camp drills, which got a little testy Sunday at Lehigh University. Yong Kim / Staff Photographer
Posted: July 31, 2012

BETHLEHEM — Andy Reid served notice Sunday that if the collective bargaining agreement says he can only have one real practice a day, he can still make it memorably tough.

The Eagles spent 2 hours and 40 minutes Sunday on the sun-splashed fields of Lehigh. Saturday, the first day of hitting, was intense, with a lot of bottled-up energy flowing early. Sunday was a marathon. If the heat wasn't all that oppressive, the sheer volume of work sure was.

"We set the tone," quarterback Michael Vick said. "Especially up front — the offensive line and defensive line, they're playing great."

Those linemen also exchanged punches on a couple of occasions. The first scrum started with defensive tackle Derek Landri and offensive tackle Demetress Bell, and spread quickly. Jumping in to break it up were Vick and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. It's probably not the end of the world if Castillo gets felled by an errant punch, but Vick going down that way would not be good. Pretty sure President Obama agrees here.

Vick allowed afterward that he should probably stay clear of such scrums in the future.

"No question, emotions are high," Landri said afterward. "Everybody wants to be at their best. Mediocrity is not acceptable. Everybody is going as hard as they can. Sometimes you get the better of a guy, sometimes he gets the better of you, and things kind of escalate from there. At the same time, we know where it all ends. It's done and we move on to the next day."

Landri also noted that "we're getting everything you can get out of what the CBA has set up … this is getting good work and getting better."

A much nastier fight occurred later, during a 9-on-7 running drill. Linebacker Ryan Rau dodged Danny Watkins, then stood over the guard, punching down on the back of Watkins' head, before the entire offense came to the rescue, creating a giant pile.

Rau said he didn't know who he was punching at the time.

"I don't care who it is; I'm not going to let anybody push me around," he said.

Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, known at Temple as a hitter, might have had his best practice as an Eagle.

"Being able to have some live periods is going to be great for us as a team," Jarrett said. "Football is live, and you don't tag off."

Waiting for Jason

Defensive end Jason Babin needs an MRI on the calf he strained Saturday in a one-on-one drill. Except, Babin swallowed one of those thermometer pills before Saturday's practice, which trainers use to monitor players' core temps. Babin can't have an MRI while the pill is still in there.

So, does head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder follow Babin around with a baggie and a shovel? Burkholder says no. When the presence of the pill is no longer an issue, the device used to read it won't register its presence. No further scrutiny required.

"I think he tweaked it pretty good," Andy Reid said of Babin's injury. "I wouldn't expect him back here this week. He's going to need some time on that."

In case you yearn to hear more thermometer-pill lore, Burkholder recalled that former Eagles offensive tackle Jon Runyan was a difficult subject for monitoring — Runyan would take the pill the night before, instead of just before practicing, and by the time he was monitored … well, there was nothing for the mointoring device to read.

Semi-legal alien

New punter Mat McBriar should be practicing by Wednesday, Andy Reid said. The 3-day "stepup" period to practice after signing as a free agent has ended, but McBriar, an Australian citizen, has to get a new U.S. work visa before he works with the team.

Birdseed

Rookie safety Phillip Thomas suffered a hamstring strain Sunday … A source close to the situation confirmed that former Eagles president Joe Banner is part of a group negotiating to buy the Cleveland Browns. The sale could go through before the Eagles play the Browns in the 2012 season opener … Antonio Dixon, who left practice with cramps Saturday, returned Sunday. "I always cramp a lot. I sweat a lot. I've always been like this," Dixon said. "I'm big; I can sweat."

Contact Les Bowen at bowenl@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. Read his blog at www.eagletarian.com.

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