PHILADELPHIA — Hot-tempered Eagles cornerback Cary Williams lost his cool again Thursday.
Williams, who was ejected from a joint practice with New England last month for brawling, was involved in a scuffle with controversial Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper on the practice fields at the NovaCare Complex.
The team was preparing for its regular-season opener at Washington on “Monday Night Football.”
“I’m not talking,” Williams said after practice.
A video shot by Comcast SportsNet of the incident showed Cooper and Williams participating in a one-on-one drill early in practice and the two tumbling to the ground. Shoves were exchanged, then Williams appeared to throw a couple of punches before they started yanking on each other’s facemask and cornerback Brandon Boykin intervened.
While Cooper walked away shaking his head, Williams took off his own helmet and started shouting at Cooper and walking toward him until quarterback Michael Vick stepped in. Williams was later seen prowling along the sideline while wide receiver DeSean Jackson put his arm around him.
“Our maturity level’s gotta be on a whole different plane,” Vick told the Philadelphia Daily News after practice. “Regardless of who the catalyst was for the whole fight, that doesn’t matter. We’ve gotta be men. We’re not guys who are out on the street, fighting one another. We’re teammates.
“It’s game week. We don’t have time for that. I don’t. It’s a distraction.”
The incident immediately prompted speculation as to whether it was related to Cooper’s incident earlier in training camp, when a video surfaced that showed him uttering a racist slur at a black security guard while attending a Kenny Chesney concert at Lincoln Financial Field in June.
Cooper was fined an undisclosed amount by the team, apologized to his teammates and the fans, then left the team for four days in early August to undergo sensitivity training and counseling.
At the time, Williams was among the players who said he could forgive Cooper and move on from the controversy, but wanted to hear from Cooper first. Upon his return, Cooper met with his teammates again.
“This was just two competitors going for the ball,” Cooper said. “It doesn’t have to be about what everybody’s talking about.
“Everything’s been great. There’s been no problems at all. I haven’t heard a single (negative) comment from anyone on another team and everyone here has been completely, 100 percent normal.
“I’m talking to everybody and everybody is talking to me. We’re all real close, everybody, Cary included. He’s my boy. Like I said before, we’re both in the NFL, we’re both super-competitive and we both wanted the ball.”
While Cooper said he did not receive any flak from opponents during the preseason, the situation could change once the regular season begins.
Running back LeSean McCoy explained Thursday that teams are always looking for an edge and will resort to almost anything to get it.
“I think for sure a lot of guys are going to try and do dirty things to (Cooper),” McCoy said. “For one, they are opponents so they are going to try and do anything to get the advantage. And two, I think maybe some of the words that he did say offended a lot of guys.
“But we definitely have his back. We’re not blind to the fact of what’s going on, so sure a couple of guys will take their shots at him. He’s got to be open with it and understand that’s the kind of consequence that goes along with that.”
Williams, who was signed as a free agent from Baltimore, has gotten off to a rough start with the Eagles.
He skipped all of the voluntary workouts and minicamps for a variety of personal reasons that included attending a daughter’s dance recital and picking out sconces for his new home.
In early August, Eagles coach Chip Kelly made him leave a practice with New England after Williams got into a fight with Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson. A few days later, Williams explained that the Patriots were trash talking and he was trying to stand up for the Eagles’ defense.
Later in the preseason, Williams was involved in a scuffle with Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith during a game.
Williams had his share of run-ins with opponents last season as well, including Jackson. The two were each fined $10,000 for fighting during the Eagles’ 24-23 victory over the Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field last Sept. 16.
“(Williams) is just a nagging person sometimes,” Jackson said after practice Thursday. “He tries to do things to intimidate receivers. Some people might back down from that, but when you’re dealing with people like myself and Riley, professional athletes, we all think we’re just as tough.”
Contact David Weinberg: