Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Riley Cooper and Cary Williams get into practice scuffle

Riley Cooper and Cary Williams got into a scuffle at practice that required several players, including Michael Vick, to step in and separate the two.

Riley Cooper and Cary Williams get into practice scuffle

Eagles defensive back David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Eagles defensive back David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Riley Cooper and Cary Williams got into a heated scuffle at practice on Thursday that required several players, including Michael Vick, to step in and separate the two.

Williams used a racial slur during the incident, according to an Eagle that was near the altercation.

According to the player, Williams said to Cooper more than once, "I'm not a n- you [mess] with."

Cooper was embroiled in controversy more than a month ago when a video surfaced in which the Eagles wide receiver was caught saying at a Kenny Chesney concert, "I'll fight every n- in here."

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Williams declined to talk with reporters following practice at the NovaCare Complex. Cooper said that the altercation was not racially motivated. The Eagles had no comment.

The scuffle occurred during one-on-one individual drills. The players got mixed up and fell to the ground. Cooper got up and went at Williams, who responded with punches.

"Just one-on-ones," Cooper said. "Both being super competitive, going for the ball, and we were tangled."

Cornerback Brandon Boykin and assistant defensive backs coach Todd Lyght separated the players, but Williams threw his helmet to ground and went back at Cooper. That's when Williams started screaming and used the slur.

Vick jumped in and tried to hold back Williams as he continued to scream at Cooper. Williams then said something to Vick, and the Eagles quarterback, too, had to be held back.

After the fighting stopped, the fiery cornerback walked to a separate field and strolled up and down by himself.

Cooper looked visibly distraught and stayed out of one-on-one drills that involved receivers and defensive backs until DeSean Jackson went over to him. Jackson eventually walked over to Williams and had a conversation.

After the video surfaced last month, several players were upset by what Cooper had said, although many stood behind the fourth-year receiver. Cooper took a leave of absence to seek help.

Williams was one of the players who said he had problems with what Cooper said but that he was willing to welcome him back into the fold once they spoke. The sixth-year corner has gotten into several dustups during his career, including a brief scrum with a Patriots wide receiver when the Eagles hosted New England at the NovaCare Complex for two days of scrimmages.

Fights in practice aren't rare, but they generally occur during the hot weeks of training camp as players are battling for starting and roster spots.

Staff Writer
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