The San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans are playing a preseason game at NRG Stadium on Saturday, and are holding joint practices at the Texans’ facility Wednesday and Thursday.
And no sooner did the two teams line up against one another did we see a fight, and one of Houston’s best players booted from the field because of it.
DeAndre Hopkins, Jimmie Ward scrap
Media at the practice said this was the very first rep, with what appears to be Houston’s skill players lined up against the 49ers defensive backs:
— Alex Radow (@alexradow) August 15, 2018
Corner Jimmie Ward jammed receiver DeAndre Hopkins, knocking Hopkins’ helmet off as he turned to catch the ball. Ward put a hand in Hopkins’ chest even after the reception, and Hopkins responded with a shove.
The two then started to push one another, and ended up on the ground. Teammates and staff from both sides came in, and they ended up on the ground too.
(As an aside, it was pretty dumb for Hopkins to take shots at Ward’s head while Ward was still wearing a helmet. Hard for a receiver to catch with a broken finger or hand.)
Hopkins booted from practice
Even though it was early in the session, Texans coach Bill O’Brien sent Hopkins off the field; he had made it clear to his players that no fights would be tolerated during the joint practices.
Hopkins was sent into the Texans’ practice bubble. Ward stayed on the field, but was on the sideline, effectively benched.
Earlier this week, Washington and the Jets had a fight during their practice together. Teams spend the first two weeks of camp lining up against their own, so often the fresh meat, so to speak, and desire to prove oneself against new competition leads to scraps.
Not the first time for Hopkins
This isn’t the first time Hopkins has been at the center of a joint-practice kerfuffle. In 2015, when the Texans were on “Hard Knocks,” they had joint practices with Washington, and Hopkins had some back-and-forth with DeAngelo Hall, at one point putting an ankle-breaking juke (link has NSFW language) on Hall that would make Allen Iverson proud.
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