Friday night under the lights quickly turned into Friday Night Fights at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.
And this one was brief, but a real doozy.
Midway through the much-anticipated and highly intense “backs on backers” drill, a melee broke out after linebacker Vince Williams and running back Le’Veon Bell refused to relent after the drill was clearly over.
Williams ended up on top of Bell in the back portion of the end zone, which apparently didn’t sit well with fellow running back LeGarrette Blount.
Blount, in street clothes and as a pure spectator, took such exception to Williams taking Bell to the ground and staying on top of him that he decided to do something about it.
Blount immediately tried to clear Williams off Bell with a diving forearm.
After that, it got interesting.
Players from the offense and defense gathered around pushing and shoving. Blount somehow found himself outside the mob, but that didn’t stop him.
Blount dove back in trying to get after Williams.
This is where things really got interesting.
Defensive assistant Joey Porter, who once got kicked out of a game in Cleveland for fighting running back William Green an hour before the game even started, turned into “Peacemaker Peezy.”
Porter grabbed Blount and yanked him off the pile. Porter then stood in front of Blount preventing him from going back after Williams. Blount had a couple words with Porter before finally walking away.
Williams had his helmet ripped off his head. His facemask was yanked so violently that it got pulled through the hard plastic clips that keep it secure to the helmet.
The fight was over, but there were some more fireworks after that.
Throughout the remainder of the drill, Blount and Williams were jawing at each other across the field. The one thing I heard was: “I’ll get you tomorrow.”
Afterwards, Mike Tomlin addressed what happened.
“It’s the ebb and flow associated with team development,” said Tomlin. “The tight ends kicked the linebackers butts the other day, and the linebackers came back today with a vengeance. It’s what team development is about. I would imagine the backs and tight ends come out here tomorrow with a get-back attitude. It is an emotional game, and they do lose that element of it sometimes. But those things are growth opportunities, and opportunities for us to teach. All of that is part of team development, even when it’s a little bit negative.
“It is emotional, and at times you’re going to feel like you’ve been wronged, but at the same time you have to keep your wits about you, because we step into stadiums with one goal in mind, and that’s to win. Obviously, 15-yard penalties don’t help us in that cause.”
Throughout the melee, Tomlin never moved a muscle. Although he did have a word with Blount a little after it all settled down.
The fight definitely was escalated by Blount’s actions, but how can’t you like a guy sticking up for his teammate and backfield partner like that?