A series of training camp fights involving a number of Jets players isn’t emblematic of deeper issues, one team source tells Metro.
The Jets made headlines for all the wrong reasons this week for coming to blows several times. First, there was a Monday melee that spilled onto the sidelines and involved upwards of 20 players. Then came Tuesday where a brief scuffle involving two rookies, running back Terrance Ganaway and linebacker Demario Davis, was followed up by cornerback Antonio Cromartie getting involved in two incidents. Cromartie first got into it with rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill then moments later with tight end Dustin Keller.
But it was Monday’s fight that started when rookie cornerback D’Anton Lynn shoved running back Joe McKnight out of bounds — a move which led McKnight to throw the ball at the head of the rookie — that made the biggest waves. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a team source spoke to Metro New York about head coach Rex Ryan’s message in the huddle following Monday’s fight.
“Rex said ‘Take care of your teammates. No one takes a player down and we don’t hit each other when it isn’t a live session. Only I call a live session, no one else,’” the source said. “He was telling us that if we have contact, take the wrap-up and stop the play. It wasn’t directed at D’Anton or Joe, but all of us.”
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After the incidents on Tuesday morning, Ryan called the team together again and had them run “gassers” as a message that fighting would not be tolerated.
Friday’s trip to play the Bengals could provide a respite from the grind of playing against the same personnel on a daily basis. Ryan called together the team after Monday’s fight resulted in practice being halted to address the team. He spoke about team unity and wanting to keep a sense of taking care of one another.
There have been a few incidents in training camp, not out of the norm for a NFL team in August. But the player said it was not a problem.
“Considering the year last year and the tension in the locker room, I’m surprised with how little tension there is.”
The Jets finished a disappointing 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs in a locker room rife with division.
The source said that after Monday’s training session that laughter could be heard coming from the running backs meeting room when McKnight entered. The Jets running back coach is Anthony Lynn, the father of D’Anton, the rookie who pushed McKnight out of bounds.
“These incidents aren’t spilling over into the locker room at all. It isn’t like that at all, that the fights continue off the field,” the source said. “Everyone is really together here. The high guys on the payroll are helping the younger players. We all know and understand that the younger guys are pushing to make the team. It isn’t anything personal; there isn’t any bad blood.
“In fact, the guys are laughing it off afterwards.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for more news throughout training camp.