Camp starts heating up

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Let's get ready to rumble!

Somebody should have bellowed those words before the second practice session yesterday at Edmonton Eskimos' training camp.

Two separate fights highlighted Day 2 of camp - including the best scrap witnessed at an Eskimos' practice in at least two years.

The feature heavyweight fight matched rookie offensive lineman Torrin Tucker against fellow rookie defensive lineman Justin Cooper.

Tucker connected with three blows to the head before taking four vicious upper-cuts at Cooper, a former Edmonton Huskie.

At six-foot-six and 335 pounds, Tucker had a serious height and weight advantage on Cooper (six-foot-one, 250 pounds).

"I landed quite a few (punches) myself and I got the proof here," said Cooper, who showed off a swollen right hand that might have a broken knuckle after a shot to Tucker's chin.

It was a wild scrap that started from some pushing and shoving in a one-on-one drill at the south end of the grass practice field adjacent to Commonwealth Stadium.

It was surely caught by the Eskimos' video staff and CFRN-TV proudly had up-close footage of the entire bout.

The fight actually sparked a second scrap involving veterans Adam Braidwood - an MMA veteran - and hulking guard Patrick Kabongo.

At six-foot-six and 315 pounds, Kabongo smacked Braidwood twice in the face - even though the defensive lineman wasn't wearing a helmet.

"These are my teammates and I will do anything for them," said Braidwood. "They were fighting (Tucker and Cooper) and it was fair. Then Pat decided to jump in for no reason. He shouldn't have been in there. So, you got to throw him out of the way."

Braidwood actually grabbed ahold of Kabongo's face mask during the fight before teammates separated the pair.

That didn't stop a "Let's Go" chant that appeared to be coming from Kabongo well after the fight.

Cooler heads prevailed after practice ended near noon, leading to some fun trash talk.

"I could take Kabongo in a second," cracked Braidwood, who is giving up two inches and 60 pounds to Kabongo, let alone the fact he's coming off a torn ACL. "I would have somebody with a dart gun on the sideline (to) tranquillize him and (then) jump on top of him."

Joking aside, both scraps came out of competitive fire and frustration, which is why head coach Danny Maciocia has no real concerns with his players trading blows.

"We are just trying to build a particular attitude around here that we are not going to be pushed around anymore," said the bench boss.

"This is something (the fights) that I don't mind seeing every day."

Considering there have been three fights in two days of practices, there are surely more to come as the tone of this year's training camp is a little nastier than in recent springs.

FINISH LINES: JASON TUCKER IS DEALING WITH BACK SPASMS, SIMILAR TO THOSE SUFFERED BY ED HERVEY NEAR THE END OF HIS CAREER. TUCKER MISSED PRACTICES YESTERDAY, BUT IT DOESN'T APPEAR TO BE A SERIOUS ISSUE.


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