NAPA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio doesn’t like practice fights.
Hates them, in fact.
They occur in every training camp, and have here in Napa over the past week. The worst came Saturday, with defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. and guard Kelechi Osemele went at it and, after rolling to the ground, Edwards Jr. repeatedly punched Osemele in the helmet.
They squared off again a few moments later, and Del Rio had seen enough. He ejected both players on the spot, a decision he addressed on after Sunday’s practice without being asked.
The topic would’ve been broached, but he wanted to open and close that chapter before it dominated proceedings.
Del Rio insisted that Saturday’s events have been resolved, and that the incident was used as a teaching moment.
“A couple guys got ejected from practice,” Del Rio said. “I just didn’t think they were prepared to do the things we needed to do to help our team continue to work. Both guys were talked to, and they understand that’s not how we do things. That’s not what we’re looking for.”
“We have handled that, and put it to rest.”
Osemele was a full participant in his return to practice, though Edwards Jr. was limited to individual drills. His right hand was iced after Saturday’s event, and the appendage was taped during Sunday’s practice, when he primarily worked on the side during position-specific periods.
“Both guys are going to be fine,” Del Rio said. “Mario is a little sore, but he’ll be fine. There’s nothing major going on there.”
Del Rio addressed his issue with fighting again – he also did so during the offseason program – and believes his team will avoid extended altercations in the future.
“You can have unfortunate things happen when guys go at it like that,” Del Rio said. “We’re grateful that nothing significant came of it, and we learned a big-time lesson about how important it is to take care of each other and be good teammates. We can still challenge each other but be respectful.”