- Last Updated: 9:31 AM, August 7, 2012
- Posted: 2:12 AM, August 7, 2012
CORTLAND — Call it the Training Camp Tussle.
Jets running back Joe McKnight and rookie defensive back D’Anton Lynn got into a fight during yesterday’s practice that escalated into a brawl involving 20 players, including quarterback Tim Tebow, that spilled over advertising signs near where fans were watching.
It was the biggest fight of a feisty practice that featured a few smaller fights and lots of hard hits. It is clear the Jets are anxious to play an opponent other than themselves. They open the preseason Friday in Cincinnati.
The fight began when McKnight caught a pass near the sideline. Lynn, an undrafted free agent out of Penn State, shoved McKnight out of bounds. McKnight did not like the push and fired the football at Lynn. McKnight then threw a punch and the two grabbed each other. Cornerbacks Donnie Fletcher and Julian Posey then joined and the quartet tumbled over advertising placards into the area where the media watches practice, about 10 feet from the fans.
Offensive and defensive players rushed over and joined in. Some players joked around the edge of the fight, pretending to go at it. Tebow and coach Rex Ryan tried to pull players off the pile. It ended after about a minute.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez was not happy about the fight.
“There’s no excuse for it,” Sanchez said. “There’s no throwing the ball at a teammate. There’s no shoving a guy out of bounds into the signs. One, it doesn’t look good and two, it sends the wrong message to our team. We want to take care of our guys. I get it. Guys are competitive. Guys are fiery. That’s nice. We want to take it to the brink there and compete until the last possible moment and then always remember to protect the team, always protect your teammates. I don’t like to see it.”
Ryan said in a statement that he did not think it was a melee.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sign get knocked over in a fight because it happened on the sideline, but it wasn’t a melee,” Ryan said. “Guys weren’t throwing helmets.”
Ryan said it was “not even close” to the worst fight he’d seen, but he wants the fights to stop.
“Fights happen occasionally, but I think we’ve had enough of them,” Ryan said.
McKnight, whose position coach is Lynn’s father Anthony, said he was “just competing, got a little frustrated and went from there.” Lynn joked that his father was “probably rooting for Joe.”
The fight was an indication of how chippy the Jets are feeling as training camp drags on. The players are ready to play a game.
“It’s definitely time,” Sanchez said. “After the scrimmage [on Saturday] that’s very typical of a camp, tempers flare and all that. Guys kind of forgot about it today but we’ve got to protect the team. There’s no throwing the ball at anybody. You always want to set the tempo and compete to the very last second, to the brink and never go overboard. That’s going to be a penalty and it just looks bad.”
McKnight did not think there was anything wrong with him throwing punches.
“If you’re fighting are you just going to love-tap him?” he said. “You’re going to try to hit him. It’s a fight.”
What about throwing the football at him?
“It’s football,” McKnight said. “Ain’t nothing out of line.”
Lynn said the two will shake hands and move on.
“We’re not trying to hurt each other,” Lynn said. “I doubt he was trying to hurt me, I’m not trying to hurt him. It just kind of escalated ... it was more wrestling than anything.”Follow @NYPostsports