FOXBOROUGH — With the rise in temperatures, things got a little heated at Patriots camp on Tuesday with two of the team’s standouts ejected after an end zone scuffle.
Receiver Julian Edelman and cornerback Stephon Gilmore scrapped after an incompletion in the end zone toward the end of practice and were banished to the locker room by coach Bill Belichick, who has a long-standing no-tolerance policy when it comes to fighting.
Edelman appeared to take exception to Gilmore’s tight coverage on an incomplete pass from Jacoby Brissett in the corner of the end zone. The receiver flung the cornerback to the ground and some haymakers were exchanged during the wrestling match before teammates pulled them apart.
Both players emerged from the scrum without their helmets as Belichick made his call.
Fights are nothing new at training camp, where competition is high as players battle not only for jobs but for their spots on the depth chart. There are a couple of dustups every year.
Last season, cornerback Malcolm Butler was thrown out of practice for scrapping with receiver Alshon Jeffery during a joint session with the Bears. Former center Bryan Stork and then-rookie Woodrow Hamilton also were banished from a camp practice last season.
“Today was a training camp day,’’ said tight end Dwayne Allen, drawing out the words “training camp day” for emphasis.
Earlier in the session Allen had a spirited go-round with rookie defensive end Caleb Kidder during a one-on-one blocking drill. The sixth-year veteran held on tight at the end of the matchup, apparently delivering a message to the youngster. “The heat. The pads. The hitting. It was definitely a training camp day,’’ said Allen. “It’s just like coach [Belichick] said, ‘It’s days like today we’ve just got to put our heads down, keep our feet churning, and you grind through it.’ ’’
David Harris, who is working through his 11th camp and first in Foxborough, said scuffles happen but they’re quickly forgotten.
“Tempers always flare when it’s hot outside,’’ said the linebacker. “You know, guys get tired and tired of seeing each other. But that’s just part of the grind of training camp. It’s no different than it was 40 years ago. Camp is camp. It’s always going to be tough.’’
Receiver Brandin Cooks, another newcomer to New England, said he didn’t see the altercation but knows they’re inevitable.
“Physicality is the name of the game,’’ he said. “Things are going to happen and we just have to be ready for it.’’
Cooks also said he’s a fan of Belichick’s stance on fisticuffs.
“Absolutely, we don’t have time to waste,’’ he said.
Edelman was sporting a wide smile as he started moving toward the locker room before eventually putting his helmet on for the lonely walk. Gilmore followed him to the locker room a few moments later.
The two have battled on the field for the last five years as opponents before Gilmore signed his five-year, $65 million deal to come to New England after beginning his career in Buffalo.
Chris Hogan, who got into a jawing session with Cyrus Jones last week, was among the first on scene to help pull Edelman out of the fray. Hogan played alongside Gilmore in Buffalo before joining the Patriots last season, so he knows both combatants well.
“Hot day. Guys are competing. Tensions run high but, you know, at the end of the day those guys will shake hands and it’ll be over with,’’ said Hogan. “We’re competing out here but those guys are on the same team, we have the same jersey on, and we’re going to go out there and play like a team.’’
Edelman is fresh off a 98-catch, 1,106-yard season and again will be one of the focal points of the offense. Gilmore and Butler are expected to be one of the best cornerback tandems in the league.
Watch: Ben Volin and Jim McBride talk about the Edelman-Gilmore fight and more from Patriots practice