The first punch thrown at Riley Cooper since it became known he made a racial remark didn’t come from an opponent, but a teammate.
Cooper, who left the Eagles for three days in training camp after a video of him using racially insensitive remarks surfaced on the Internet, found himself in a scuffle with defensive back Cary Williams at practice Thursday. Cooper, a wide receiver, said afterward it had nothing to do with his comment at a Kenny Chesney concert in June. And Williams declined to speak to reporters.
‘‘Both being super competitive, going for the ball,’’ Cooper said. ‘‘We had a tangle-up at the ball, we both went to the ground. There was a lot of contact at the top of the route . . . It was nothing.’’
Williams was covering Cooper, broke up a pass from quarterback Michael Vick, and both players went down. Cooper stood up and shoved Williams first. Williams responded with a couple punches and had to be forcibly restrained by teammates, including Vick.
Cooper walked away after cornerback Brandon Boykin stepped in to separate the players. Williams then took his helmet off, screamed at Cooper and started walking toward him before Vick stepped in and grabbed the fiery cornerback by his jersey. Williams yelled at Vick, and an assistant coach led the quarterback away.
‘‘Our maturity level has to be on a whole different plane,’’ Vick said. ‘‘Regardless of who the catalyst was for the whole fight, that doesn’t matter. We have to be men. We don’t have time for that.’’
DeSean Jackson eventually calmed Williams, who is no stranger to fights. Williams found himself in a scuffle against Patriots rookie receiver Aaron Dobson when the Eagles and Patriots held a joint scrimmage last month and was pulled from practice. He fought Jackson during a game last year when he played for Baltimore. He also shoved a referee during the Ravens’ win over San Francisco in the Super Bowl.
Reed inching closer
Safety Ed Reed could play when the Texans open the season at San Diego Monday night after returning to practice this week as he recovers from hip surgery.
‘‘I don’t want to say it can’t happen because there’s been such good progress,’’ coach Gary Kubiak said. ‘‘So we’ll see day to day.’’
Reed was taken off the physically unable to perform list Saturday and returned on a limited basis. He has been recovering from April surgery to repair a partially torn labrum.
The nine-time Pro Bowler, signed in the offseason, will practice in pads for the first time Friday.
Lions rookie Ziggy Ansah was able to practice Thursday, a sign that his recovery from a concussion may be progressing. Ansah, a defensive end, took part in drills. The No. 5 pick in the draft was believed to have hurt his head after colliding with a teammate in practice Aug. 24 . . . The Jaguars could be without tight end Marcedes Lewis in the season opener against the Chiefs. Lewis missed his second consecutive day of practice Thursday. He reinjured a strained left calf Wednesday. The injury kept him out of the final three exhibition games . . . An American Indian tribe in upstate New York said Thursday it will launch a radio ad campaign pressing for the Washington Redskins to shed a name often criticized as offensive. The Oneida Indian Nation said the first ad will run on radio stations in Washington before the team hosts the Eagles in its season opener Monday night. In the ad, Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter says NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should ‘‘stand up to bigotry’’ by denouncing ‘‘the racial slur’’ in the team’s name. ‘‘We do not deserve to be called redskins,’’ the Oneida leader says in the ad. ‘‘We deserve to be treated as what we are — Americans.’’