By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Football is an inherently physical game, but typically, the field during pregame warmups remains a place of safety.
That wasn’t the case on Sunday afternoon, when tensions ran high between the Bills and Patriots, resulting in a bit of a melee near the 50-yard line.
It began when rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett was jogging up the field with rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell. Bills safety Robert Blanton took exception to these players jogging on the field, and he let it show by shoving the quarterback.
Mitchell immediately retaliated against Blanton, letting it be known that pregame hits on the starting quarterback are not allowed. Two Bills coaches and five Bills players quickly joined the fray trying to break it up, and multiple Patriots coaches rushed in soon thereafter.
Safety Aaron Williams ended up giving two hard shoves to the head of Patriots receivers coach Chad O’Shea. That type of aggression will assuredly result in a fine from the league and perhaps a suspension, as it was completely unwarranted and unprompted. It looked like a player just looking for a reason to hit an opposing coach, which should be taken seriously by the league office.
Eventually, the parties were separated, but the threat of cheap shots from Bills safeties should be a point of concern for the officiating crew. If they were willing to hit a coach who was just getting in the middle of a pregame scuffle, they’ll likely be willing to inflict some more punishment if given the chance during the game.
Video of donnybrook was captured by a Rochester reporter:
Photos were also shared on Twitter:
Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft said on his 98.5 The Sports Hub pregame interview that the behavior is a reflection of head coach Rex Ryan.
It’s unlikely any discipline will be issued for this particular game, but it’s safe to assume the Bills will be receiving some mail this week from Park Avenue.