The Cowboys got all excited in practice Tuesday. It started with Sean Lee getting mad.
Or maybe it was DeMarco Murray getting Sean Lee mad.
Whatever, it had Cowboys players including Will Allen, Dez Bryant, Ron Leary, Nick Hayden, Micah Pellerin and others taking tough shots and jawing at each other during 11-on-11 run drills.
“Lee and DeMarco get into it as usual, and they got a little brawl going,” said defensive end Jason Hatcher, smiling about it after practice. “It’s a good sign of defense playing together, as well as offense. So it was a good day of competition.”
The first visible sign was Lee chasing down rookie receiver Terrance Williams to yell at him about the way he was blocking. “You want to hold me (compound expletive)! You want to hold me!”
Lee was held back, and Hatcher came over to rally behind Williams.
The players separated, but then Murray tossed the football at Hatcher’s face. Hatcher, thinking he was being taunted, took off after Murray, and Murray scrambled away as more players got between them.
Later, Hatcher said he realized Murray was kidding around.
“It was funny, man. I kind of snapped for a second, then he took off running, started laughing,” Hatcher said. “I just started cracking up, man. He’s my teammate. I love him to death. He knows what buttons to push. He did it a couple of years ago in OTAs, and we got into a brawl. So he knows how to push my buttons.”
Two plays later, Murray got taken to the ground hard. Leary didn’t like that, and started jawing at Hayden. That got Allen to come over, and Bryant got in there, too.
A few plays later, Pellerin, a down-the-roster safety, landed a big shot to running back Phillip Tanner. That impressed Allen, who gave Pellerin a chest bump.
Later, Allen made a physical breakup of a pass for Witten with both of them in the air, causing Witten to land hard on his back. Witten got up slowly, but once he was on his feet, he ran to the huddle.
Eventually, the hard hits to Murray and Witten had other players shouting, ‘Enough!’
Offensive tackle Tyron Smith smiled and said he was a guy trying to settle everyone down.
“I’m the one saying nobody has energy for this right now, stop this, let’s get back to the huddle and get the next play going,” he said. “Nobody needs to get hurt.”
Witten said it was all a result of a competitive period and that the defense is going for turnovers on every play.
“Defense is trying to knock that ball out, offense is pulling up a little bit,” he said. “Competitive back and forth. Nothing more than that.”
He smiled about Lee and Murray getting things started.
“Seems like DeMarco and Sean are always going back and forth,” Witten said. “Then you catch them at the break, and they’re smiling. We’ve got a good locker room. It’s just part of camp. I don’t think it’s anything more than that.”
-- Carlos Mendez