Left tackle Jeff Backus and right defensive end Dewayne White got into a fight during practice on Sunday. Actually, there were two separate scuffles between Backus and White, but only one really can be classified as a legit fight.
Backus and White have been going up against each other on a daily basis, which is a huge positive for the Lions. Both players will help one another improve as they both have talent. By the end of training camp, the benefit of going up against a guy with talent every single day should be seen in the play of both Backus and White.
Anyways, in every single training camp around the league, there will be arguments, scuffles, and the occasional fight. Sunday was no different for the Lions as Backus and White got into it after White got by Backus during a drill. White clearly made a nice move to beat Backus, but Backus wasn't having any of that. The Lions left tackle decided to grab a hold of White's jersey, which was a mistake, not only because it's a penalty. White shoved Backus to the ground, causing Backus to quickly get back up and "challenge" White.
Soon after the first incident, the two were back at it after White hit Backus under the chin when rushing. White was the one that ended up on the ground this time, and he also received a few punches from Backus. Other players rushed in to break up the fight, and guard Frank Davis actually threw some punches as well. As a result, White, Backus, and Davis were thrown out of the drill.
As I said, this happens all the time during training camp. Between the pressure of practice, the heat, and the frustration that builds up over time, things like this are bound to happen every once in a while. That doesn't excuse White or Backus as they have to be more disciplined, but this really isn't a big deal. Rod Marinelli agrees to an extent, but he obviously was frustrated with the two players.
“I want these practices to be physical, I want them intense and I want mental toughness,” Marinelli said. “Mental toughness is not responding. Mental toughness is letting things go and playing the next snap. That’s losing football when you do that. …
“You can’t have it. It’s not winning football, so I’m not going to put up with it.”
Marinelli kept his sense of humor about the fight, but he didn’t want it glorified or turned into a positive.
“If fighting was part of the game, I’d practice it,” Marinelli said. “First period, fight. But it’s not what we do. It’s not what I want. Everybody’s, ‘Aw, they’re tough and mean.’ No. It’s not discipline.”
As Dominic Raiola said after practice, "It's squashed right now." Backus and White will put this fight out of their minds and probably forget it even happened. That doesn't necessarily mean they won't get into it again since it's bound to happen, but at least for now there is no bad blood between them.