It was not a good day at New York Giants minicamp.
While he’s reportedly OK, the team nearly lost big-money left tackle Nate Solder to a knee injury and just as alarming, defensive tackle Damon Harrison swung a helmet at guard Will Hernandez’s head, and there were punches thrown.
Final day of Giants minicamp gets heated
According to reporter Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, one of many media members who saw what happened, Solder’s knee got rolled up on during a run play. Solder, Hernandez and Harrison ended up on the ground, and Hernandez’s helmet came off in the fray and ended up in Harrison’s hands.
Inexplicably, Harrison swung the helmet at the rookie’s uncovered head; while he didn’t make contact, Leonard wrote Harrison “didn’t miss by much. It was scary.”
Hernandez started throwing punches at Harrison, and landed a couple. Harrison tried to punch back, but didn’t connect.
Coach Pat Shurmur pulled Harrison aside for a long talk in the immediate aftermath; he told media Harrison swinging the helmet at Hernandez bothered him, but didn’t express much anger.
“You know what? It’s been very competitive the whole camp, and there are certain things we can’t do,” Shurmur said. “So we’ve got to settle down, and in a situation where scuffles break like that, just take them out of the practice, let them cool off.”
Nate Solder is ‘fine’
New York made Solder, an eighth-year veteran who began his career with the Patriots, the highest-paid offensive lineman in league history in April with a four-year, $62 million free agent contract.
After getting rolled up on, Solder spent some time with the Giants’ head trainer, and got some attention for his right leg. Shurmer said of Solder, “I think he’s fine” (NFL Network reported that Solder was not injured).
The 30-year-old Solder said his leg “hurt a little bit.”
Hernandez doesn’t back down from a fight
This apparently isn’t the first fight with the Giants for Hernandez, the No. 34 pick, out of UTEP.
Eli Manning said at a charity event last week that Hernandez has gotten into “like five fights already.”
Hernandez didn’t speak to media after Thursday’s fight, but he has said he has no problem separating on-field emotion from off-field brotherhood.
“Those guys are my brothers. At the end of the day I have all their backs, and iron sharpens iron, that’s all we’re doing,” Hernandez said. “We’re getting each other better. We’re all competitors out there, so sometimes we’re gonna butt heads, but they know I have their backs and I love ’em…
“I respect all of them. I respect them, but when things get heated out there you kind of forget who’s who and at that point it doesn’t matter … But once you get back into the locker room it’s all done, shake hands and it’s over.”