PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles got back to focusing on football again Friday.
Coach Chip Kelly and the players resumed preparation for Monday's season opener at Washington. They were intent on putting aside the distractions caused by Thursday's scuffle between wide receiver Riley Cooper and cornerback Cary Williams.
"It's behind us," quarterback Michael Vick said after practice Friday. "What happened in those 10 minutes didn't even affect us for the rest of (Thursday's) practice. We're teammates and we love one another. We have a brotherhood that extends beyond football. We know that we have to focus on winning this game coming up and not worry about that other stuff."
Williams was covering Cooper during a one-on-one drill at the beginning of practice Thursday when they fell to the ground. Both players jumped up and started yanking on the other guy's facemask. Williams, who refused to speak to the media for the second straight day Friday, appeared to throw a few punches before cornerback Brandon Boykin intervened.
While Cooper walked away, Williams threw down his own helmet and began yelling at Cooper while advancing toward him. Vick stepped in and exchanged words with Williams. Afterward, wide receiver DeSean Jackson was seen speaking to Williams behind one of the practice fields.
"I'd rather not get into (the argument he had with Williams)," Vick said. "Cary just has to understand that he needs to control his temper sometimes. We all do. We're men at the end of the day, and tempers flare sometimes."
In the immediate aftermath of the fight, Cooper insisted the fight had nothing to do with the controversy he encountered earlier in training camp after a video surfaced that showed him using a racist slur while attending a Kenny Chesney concert in June.
Cooper was fined an undisclosed amount by the team, left for four days to undergo counseling, and repeatedly apologized to his teammates, coaches and Eagles fans.
Williams, who is in his first season with the Eagles after spending four years in Baltimore, was among the players who said he would be able to forgive Williams. However, a video taken by Comcast SportsNet of Thursday's fight appeared to show Williams yelling the same racist slur at Cooper.
Kelly said he didn't hear what Williams said but insisted that Thursday's fight was unrelated to Cooper's incident.
"Do I think that was connected?" Kelly said Friday. "No, not at all."
Kelly said Friday that neither player will be disciplined, despite his stance against fighting.
He kicked Williams out of a joint practice with New England last month at the NovaCare Complex when the cornerback got into a shoving match with Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson.
"That was just an agreement I had with (Patriots) coach (Bill) Belichick," Kelly said Friday. "We weren't going to put up with it when our teams were practicing because of what we had to get accomplished.
"We've talked to Williams about (his temper) and hopefully he understands the ramifications. We talk to all of our players in terms of how they're supposed to behave on the practice field and game field. You have to play with emotion and not let emotion play with you."
The Eagles are counting on Williams to play a major role this season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is coming off a solid season with Baltimore in 2012, during which he made 75 tackles and snared four interceptions. He added two more interceptions in the playoffs while helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl.
"We signed him because I thought we wanted to get bigger and taller at corner," Kelly said. "His competitive edge was also a factor. When you look at him, he's such a competitive person. He's always around the ball. I think he can make a lot of plays."
He has gotten off to a rough start in Philadelphia. He missed all of the voluntary workouts and minicamps to attend his daughter's dance recital and pick out sconces for his new home, among other things. After reporting to training camp, he missed the first preseason game with a strained hamstring. In addition to fighting with Dobson and Cooper, he also got into a shoving match with Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith in a preseason game.
He also had a few run-ins last year, including a fight with Jackson when the Ravens played the Eagles.
"We need Cary on the football field," Vick said. "Cary is very into what he does and he can get hot-headed at times. But he understands that he has to control his emotions and stay even-keel, like we all do, just out of respect for the game."
Extra points: As expected, Kelly said Friday that tackle Dennis Kelly (back surgery) and cornerback Brandon Hughes (broken hand) will not play against the Redskins. ... Kelly said he didn't watch much of Denver's 49-27 victory over Baltimore on Thursday night. "I saw three plays and fell asleep," he said.
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