Bills C Hangartner, LB Maybin scuffle at practice
AP Sports Writer
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) – Coach Chan Gailey’s has added more hitting to Buffalo Bills’ training camp and it has raised tensions on the practice field.
Center Geoff Hangartner and linebacker Aaron Maybin exchanged shoves and wrestled each other to the ground midway through practice Friday morning. Things got heated after Maybin shoved running back Fred Jackson from behind and sent him sliding along the grass field.
As Jackson yelled out, “C’mon, man,” Hangartner ran over and straight-armed Maybin across the helmet. The two then exchanged several shoves and Maybin got in a punch on Hangartner as they tangled on the ground before being separated by teammates.
Just two days into training camp and there is already more physical contact under Gailey, who took over as coach in January after Dick Jauron was fired midway through last season. Unlike Jauron, who preferred holding walkthroughs and having his players practice without pads, Gailey is demanding far more hitting in practice.
“If you got passion about the game it is going to come out,” said Gailey of the skirmish. “Sometimes it comes out the wrong way. If it becomes an issue then you have to talk about it because it could be an issue during a ballgame.”
Gailey did not address the team about the scuffle and does not plan to barring any more confrontations.
“I think it’s part of the game,” Gailey said. “I’ve been in them and everybody that has played the game has been in them. It comes with the territory.”
Hangartner was unhappy with Maybin’s hit on Jackson.
“You hit our 1,000-yard rusher in the back when he’s not looking, then it’s going to kind of cause some hard feelings with the O-line, so that’s kind of the way things go,” Hangartner said afterward. “I’ve got to protect our guy.”
Hangarner and Maybin says things are fine between them.
“Stuff like that happens. No hard feelings,” Hangarner said. “And it’ll happen again with somebody else before this camp’s over with I promise you. It may not be me and him, it’ll be somebody else, but it’ll happen again.”
Maybin laughed when asked about the scuffle.
“I think it’s a little bit less of a big deal than everybody makes it out to be, but it is what it is, it’s a physical game,” Maybin said. “Emotions are always going to be a little bit higher because you have pads on. So it is a little bit of a heightened emotional level.”
Maybin joked that he and Hangarner will likely continue “talking trash in the locker room.” Maybin’s hit did lead to some trash-talking on the field.
Within earshot of several reporters standing alongside a fence near the practice field, offensive guard Eric Wood yelled that Maybin should “give back some of that money you ain’t earned.”
Touted as a solid pass-rusher and drafted 11th overall last year, Maybin saw limited action, registering 16 tackles and no sacks in 16 games as a backup as a rookie.
Defensive lineman Marcus Stroud voiced support for Maybin by yelling out: “Do that again, Maybin. This is football. You’re supposed to get tackled.”
Wood declined to comment afterward about what he was overheard saying. Wood acknowledged that practices have been more physical.
“Yeah, tensions do rise,” Wood said. “It’s the game of football. I mean, Stroud yelled it, it’s football.”
Maybin said he didn’t hear Wood’s comment. When informed what Wood said, Maybin smiled and said, “There’s nothing to make out of that.”