Thursday, December 25, 2014

Peacemaker Vick not happy with scuffle

Michael Vick tried to calm down Cary Williams after the volatile corner went at it with Riley Cooper. Williams yapped back at Vick.

Peacemaker Vick not happy with scuffle

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) restrains Cary Williams from Riley Cooper during practice on Thursday. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) restrains Cary Williams from Riley Cooper during practice on Thursday. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Riley Cooper said it was nothing, two guys tangled in a one-on-one drill who got up and went at each other.

But the Comcast SportsNet video of the incident between Cooper and corner Cary Williams shows quarterback Michael Vick stepping in front of Williams when Williams takes off his helmet and walks toward Cooper, yelling, well after the initial scrum. And then Williams seems to brush aside Vick's attempts at making peace, yelling in the QB's face, before a coach intercedes and leads Vick away. Eventually, wideout DeSean Jackson takes Williams off to the side and calms him down.

Williams wasn't talking afterward. Cooper, the guy whose use of the "n-word" at a June concert made this fracas the story of the day instead ot a note, more or less laughed it off.

But Vick was visibly upset in the locker room afterward.

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Approached first by a Daily News reporter who congratulated him for being a peacemaker, Vick said: "I try to be the peacemaker, but these young dudes don't respect me." He was taking a phone call, which cut off further dialogue right then, but he jerked his head in the direction of Williams.

Later, after the call, Vick said, with emotion in his voice: "Our maturity level's gotta be on a whole different plane. Regardless of who the catalyst was for the whole fight, that doesn't matter. We've gotta be men. We're not guys who are out on the street, fighting one another. We're teammates ... It's game week. We don't have time for that. I don't. It's a distraction."

When asked if he was OK with Williams in the aftermath, Vick said: "Oh, yeah, 20 seconds and that's it. Everybody moves on.'

Williams has a history of scuffles, which included getting tossed from the first day of the three-day training camp practice sessions with the New England Patriots last month. As a Baltimore Raven last season, Williams was fined for a scuffle with Jackson, and he shoved an official to the ground in the Super Bowl.

Cooper said the incident was forgotten as practice continued. Corner Brandon Boykin, who helped break up the initial set-to, agreed. "They guarded each other probably six or seven times after that and nothing happened." (This isn't basketball, but Boykin's meaning was clear.) "It's not a big deal."

Jackson said: "I went over to talk to both of 'em to let 'em know, just to let 'em know we've got a game to plan for."

Asked if there might be lingering resentment from the earlier Cooper controversy, Jackson said players need to put aside personal concerns because "we got a game to play."

"You're dealing with different personalities, different backgrounds" in a locker room, Jackson said. "At the end of the day, we're all here to do a job, first and foremost."

Jackson called the incident "part of what happens out here. It's nothing too serious."

Asked about his own encounter with Williams last season, "He's just one of those guys, he's a nagging person some times. You get him on the field, he tries to be over-aggressive, he tries to do things to intimidate receivers. Some people might back down from that. When you're dealing with people like myself, Riley, professional athletes, we all think we're as tough as each other ... I think he's a good player, he's a competitive player ... It's part of the game we play."

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Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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