Saturday marked the 10th practice of Denver Broncos training camp, signaling the end of Week 2. This far into the dog days of camp, tempers are going to flare.
That's exactly what happened on Saturday as Broncos' defensive lineman McTelvin Agim began throwing haymakers at a helmeted offensive guard Ben Braden. The wisdom of throwing punches with a closed hand made of bone, tendons, and tissue, at an armored helmet comprised of molded polycarbonate is questionable, but it's not uncommon in football.
“Yeah, that happens," Broncos' head coach Nathaniel Hackett said post-practice. "I have been around football a long time and you can’t hide that."
Hackett quickly took action, kicking both Agim and Braden off the practice field at UCHealth Training Center.
“I just kicked those guys off the field," Hackett said. "In the end, that’s what happens in a game. In a game, if something like that happens—if someone is out, potentially for the whole game, it hurts the team. In the end, we talk about the team. It’s all about the team, and I know there’s heated battles out there, but it’s all about controlled aggression. No matter what happens, you can’t throw a punch. You can’t do anything like that. That’s not what we want, that’s not what we coach."
After a cooling-off period in the locker room, Agim and Braden were permitted to return to practice after Hackett made them "hug it out," according to 9NEWS' Mike Klis.
"After that, we talked, cleared the air and made sure they were all good," Hackett said. "Then they were able to come back onto the field.”
It's a far cry from the histrionics that erupted between Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders in camp 2019. At that time in Broncos history, there was something decaying beneath the surface and it bubbled over in the form of Sutton and Sanders getting into it.
The Broncos resolved that situation by trading away Sanders a couple of months later. Sutton went on to earn a Pro Bowl nod, catching passes from three different starting quarterbacks.
Does that mean that one of Agim or Braden is bound to be exiled? Not at all.
This is par for the course, as Coach Hackett said, especially among trenchmen. Still, whether it's starters like Garett Bolles and Bradley Chubb going at it, or depth guys like Agim and Braden, the Broncos want to nip even the hint of internal conflict in the bud.
The message likely sent behind closed doors was something like, 'Hey, save it for the Cowboys next week.' Indeed the Broncos will host the Dallas Cowboys next week for joint practice sessions ahead of preseason Game 1 on Saturday.
Agim was Denver's third-round draft pick back in 2020. Braden, meanwhile, was a signed to a meager one-year deal earlier this year after spending some time with Hackett in Green Bay.
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