The Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals were forced to call practice early on Thursday afternoon after three fights broke out on the field – the last of which turned into an all-out brawl. La’el Collins and Leonard Floyd reportedly got into it multiple times, with Collins at one point removing Floyd’s helmet and throwing it.
During the last fight, Aaron Donald could be seen holding two Bengals helmets and a video showed him swinging one of them multiple times at other players in the massive scrum. The teams were eventually separated and went back to their locker rooms, and thankfully, it seems no one was injured.
After practice, Sean McVay shared his thoughts on the brawl and what he saw occur. He doesn’t know what started it, but he saw it as players defending their teammates on both sides.
“I don’t know exactly what instigated it. I think in some instances teams defending each other,” he said. “Fortunately, my understanding is nobody got hurt and we’ll move on from it. Not going to make a bigger deal than what it is. Not going to look at pointing fingers on who did what, but just like Zac would say, I expect our guys to defend their teammates, vice versa. There are certain things, you don’t know exactly what occurred, but I am glad my understanding is nobody got injured and that’s the most important thing. We’ll move on and we got enough stuff done to be able to evaluate it.”
When things got out of control, McVay went into the pile and attempted to calm the situation down, pulling players away from the scrum. He tried to explain his thought process of going into the center of it all, saying he just didn’t want anyone to get injured.
“I don’t know what I was. I just see guys swinging and some guys have helmets on, some don’t, there’s a scrum. You just never know what can occur,” he said. “And my biggest concern is just unnecessary injuries for people that we’re counting on, whether it’s for our team or the other team. That, to me, is where I care about these guys. Especially when you start throwing punches with gear on. I’ve been enough of a meathead in my past that I’ve done some stupid stuff, too. I know how volatile and fragile it is where you hit it the wrong way and you break your hand and it could affect a guy’s chances to be OK or god forbid, someone gets hit in the head with a helmet off.”
It remains to be seen if Donald will be disciplined at all for swinging a helmet at other players, but the NFL doesn’t handle punishments for incidents that occur in practice. The teams are responsible for that.
And so it seems unlikely he’ll be suspended for Thursday’s incident.