BEREA, Ohio -- As the final practice of training camp was winding down at the Cleveland Browns' training facility on Saturday morning, offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz and linebacker Justin Staples exchanged shoves before seven-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas quickly broke up the skirmish.
A few plays later, Thomas was again in the mix as he grabbed ahold of Staples in the middle of another scrum. That resulted in bench-clearing skirmish when Thomas and Staples fell to the ground.
After the fight, which was one of several confrontations that broke out during training camp, Browns coach Mike Pettine put the players on the line and made them run a series of gassers from sideline to sideline before returning to 11-on-11 drills.
"I just think it went a little too far," Pettine said following Saturday's practice. "I understand, and I've spoken on fights before, that it's going to happen sometimes. It's the price of doing business, but I thought we got out of the realm of being good teammates.
"We've got to be able to protect each other. We're all wearing the same logo."
In addition to the fight, Pettine put the players through their paces on the field because he did not like what he was seeing during the drills.
"Overall, practice to that point was a little too sloppy for my liking, so it was a culmination of the sloppiness and then, the length of the fight," Pettine said. "The thing I was pleased about was how they responded after.
"I thought they were sharp, focused. They practiced how they should, but I just told them after that we don't need a traumatic event to kind of snap us back into place. We need to be mature enough, professional enough to deal with tough circumstances and practice well."
With their second preseason game at the Washington Redskins just three days away, Pettine took away much of the contact during the 11-on-11 drills. Although the players were in full pads, they were supposed to "tag off" on each other during team work rather than tackling to the ground.
Coupled with the fight, the lack of production in practice made Pettine put his players on the line for the gassers.
"This was a day where we didn't want to hit as much, so we took the thud off the team work and we were just tagging off," Pettine said. "I thought some guys got sloppy with that, and I just think we were loose with some of the checks. You can just tell. We weren't sharp. Then, you hear comments being made at times, where guys were worrying about things they don't have control over, and that's what we want to get away from.
"We talk about being mentally tough. It's rare in the NFL where all of the circumstances will be ideal for you, what you're used to. We used to say it everywhere I've been, but 'When things are tough on everybody else, that means they're just right for us.' I think you have to have that mentality because if you don't, it's rarely going to be ideal. You're not going to be very successful if you're waiting for all of the circumstances to be in your favor."