Braidwood, O'Neill bash it out

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

There was no hesitation and no feeling-out process.

When it came time for Adam Braidwood and Tim O'Neill to start throwing punches, both big bulls were throwing fists as fast as they could. Their scrap - albeit brief - was a memorable one.

Braidwood, the Edmonton Eskimos' first overall pick in the 2006 draft, squared off against O'Neill, the Esks' top pick (22nd overall) from 2005, at Clarke Park's centre field yesterday.

Braidwood has a background in mixed martial arts and has already stated an interest in getting in the ring for the Maximum Fighting Championship. But O'Neill didn't back down.

GETTING SICK OF IT

"He was holding me and I was getting sick of it," said Braidwood, a defensive end who stands six-foot-four and 264 pounds. "I started pushing him back and one thing led to another. We just stood there and punched each other for a little while."

Braidwood landed a couple of right hands, but offensive guard O'Neill, who's six-foot-three and 292 pounds, had Braidwood by the facemask and then wrestled his helmet off, which in a football fight pretty much gave the victory to O'Neill.

"He did hit my helmet a few times. I'll give him that," said Braidwood.

"I guess I've got to go with the crowd. I'll give it to the offence for the way my defensive teammates are giving me a little crap. I'm sure it won't be my last fight."

Esks head coach Danny Maciocia knows all about Braidwood's fighting abilities, but he came away impressed by O'Neill's brawling talents.

"Tim must have a boxing background because he landed some good uppercuts," said Maciocia. "I thought Adam might take him down, but then it ended up turning into a hockey fight. I thought it was entertaining. I'm an offensive guy. I'll give the edge to the offensive player."

BATTED DOWN A PASS

Braidwood showed his football skills earlier in the scrimmage when he batted down a pass at the line. He chalked up the fisticuffs to the grind of training camp, which officially came to a close.

"Everyone's agitated," he said. "Everyone wants to get out of the hotel and start playing some real games."


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