22,000 fans attended the Patriots indoor practice on Wednesday inside Gillette Stadium, a special late afternoon event attended by season ticket holders and residents of Foxborough only.
They got to see a spirited practice in which a baseball like bench-clearing skirmish broke out when OT Nate Solder started a fight during 11-on-11 drills. Solder gave LB Brandon Spikes a big shove while Spikes was on the ground. It ended up with several offensive and defensive players pushing and shoving until it was finally broken up.
The result was Solder taking a penalty lap and Spikes going to the locker room, returning soon after with a knee brace. Not sure if the brace had anything to do with the dust-up, but Spikes was still pretty pissed off with Solder when he returned.
CB Kyle Arrington, one of only 3 players available to the media after practice, told the Boston Globe it was "a little chippy, a little chippy; It's all in fun though, man," h esaid. "When it happens, everybody's such a competitor, [they] can't help it. Sometimes emotions get involved. But I mean at the end of the day, it's all love.
"On this team, I've seen a few now. I would say it happens often. When guys are trying to be physical, it's the time to beat up on each other. You go against each other every day. You grow tired of people this time of year. That's just the nature of it."
These type of fights happen all the time on every time, passions run high and frustrations boil over at time, but it's a good thing. This is football we're talking about. It's an instense and brutal sport, leave the sunshine and lollipops at home
Head coach Bill Belichick said the chippiness is an indication we are officially in the "dog days of camp."
"I think that's something all of us need to go through -- players, coaches, just grinding through it," he said. "Mentally just be ready to get up and go every day and start all over again; try to get a good night's rest and have a good day each day. That's part of team-building and working through it when you're tired [and] you don't feel good. It's a long season. This is one of the many challenges we'll face."