Fights in NFL summer camps are common. Most often they involve young players, such as ...
First fight of #Ravens minicamp: TE Crockett Gillmore vs. DT Timmy Jernigan in battle of rookies.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) June 18, 2014
But even veterans can get a little salty when it's hot out and tensions rise. And if there's a veteran who knows something about tensions rising, it's wide receiver Steve Smith.
Smith, who signed with the Baltimore Ravens this offseason, brings with him a reputation for fighting with teammates and opponents that has stuck with him since very early in his career with the Carolina Panthers. In his second season, Smith punched teammate Anthony Bright. Years later, Smith hit teammate Ken Lucas during a training-camp practice. He earned discipline for both incidents — a fine and scorn from his teammates for the first one, and a two-game suspension.
Smith also has scrapped on field with opponents over the years numerous times. He's one of the most competitive players in the NFL, and he practices as hard as he plays real games. That competitiveness has allowed Smith to rank 19th all-time in the NFL in receiving yards with 12,197 and remain a force at age 35.
Is this fight really a big deal? No. It did not escalate further. In fact, it might end up being a blessing in disguise, or a valuable lesson for Webb. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said he warned his DBs not to get into it with Smith, and Pees is proving to be sage.
"The first thing I told the [defensive backs] is, 'Look, don't get him mad,'" Pees said last week, via the Baltimore Sun. "He plays a lot harder when he's mad. Leave him alone, let sleeping dogs lie. He's a heck of a player. He's made some grabs out here. He's a tough guy. He's everything advertised. I'm glad he's on our team."
Smith's effect on the Ravens will go beyond just how many passes he catches this season, just as his void from the Panthers' locker room could have a negative effect, despite the Carolina brass clearly believing that team is best off without him. Players such as Webb, who is on the verge of being a very good player, can learn from Smith and feed off that competitiveness.
Terrell Suggs on Steve Smith: "It's good to have that fire back on that side of the ball, somebody who will go out there and jab back."— Luke Jones (@BaltimoreLuke) June 18, 2014
There are good fights and bad fights. We feel comfortable filing this one under the former.
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