Mike Vrabel is setting the record straight.
The Titans coach downplayed the seriousness of the skirmish that broke out during Thursday’s joint practice with the Patriots, shrugging it off as football players just playing rough.
“If that’s a fight to you, man you’ve never been in a fight,” Vrabel said, per NFL Media. “We just don’t want any punches thrown.”
NFL Network’s Mike Giardi had described the incident as a “fracas” between cornerback Stephon Gilmore and wide receiver A.J. Brown that eventually ended with laughs.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) August 15, 2019
Vrabel said he understands tempers are likely to flare as helmets clash, but was just happy things didn’t escalate beyond shoving.
“I’m going to make sure we do (joint practices) with people that we trust that aren’t sharing information and practice the same way we do, and believe in competing hard and finishing by not throwing punches,” Vrabel said. “I understand that it’s competitive — they’re pro football players. We want them to be really competitive.
“Is there going to be pushing and shoving? Yeah, I would figure there would be. But can they play with enough composure to break it up like they do in a game and go back? There’s pushing and shoving in every game, and if you don’t throw a punch they’re going to let you go back into the huddle.”
Vrabel didn’t share the same passion for his gift from former teammate Tom Brady, who gave Vrabel a trophy earlier Thursday to celebrate the Titans’ regular-season win over the Patriots last year.
“I don’t even know where it is right now,” Vrabel said.