Today was the always anticipated - by everyone except the actual pad-wearers - first day in pads at the Atlanta Falcons' training camp in Flowery Beach, Ga.
With a myriad of pent-up offseason aggression floating around, and a number of roster spots and starting positions up for grabs, it should come as no surprise that the first day of contact resulted in at least one minor scuffle. What should come as a bit of a surprise is that the one doing the initial punch-throwing was soft-spoken rookie Harry Douglas, and the recipient of his haymaker was 12-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler Lawyer Milloy.
Amid it all, something totally unexpected happened.
Rookie Harry Douglas, one of the smallest players on the team, swung and connected with Milloy after the pair got locked up on a failed running play. A dust-up wasn’t unexpected but one where someone went after Milloy certainly caught everyone off guard. Milloy is the resident enforcer but he’s also the ultimate professional who carries more locker room juice than anyone on the team. So he seemed untouchable, literally.
Milloy opted not to retaliate right away but you can bet that at some point during preseason, Douglas is going to get a reminder from Milloy that he’ll probably never forget.
Still, Douglas’s refusal to back down scored him major points with his teammates, coaches and front office staff. As someone with the team told me, if you don’t take any mess as a rookie, you won’t ever take any mess. That little incident could set the tone for Douglas’s entire career.
Just when you thought it wasn't possible to miss one man any more, he goes and punches Lawyer Milloy.
In a related story, Art Carmody stabbed Tom Brady because he looked him in the eyes.
Rookie wide receiver Harry Douglas mixed it up with veteran Lawyer Milloy -- the first scuffle of training camp. That got some attention since Milloy is scene is both elder statesmen and enforcer.
"Harry is a confident young man," Smith said. "There's no doubt about that. You like to see that in a rookie. Of course, at this time of the year, tempers get a little bit short, but it was all in good fun and fun to watch. I don't know if it was the best thing to do to a guy who has been in this League for a very long time, but I was excited to see them get a little bit riled up."
Added cornerback Brent Grimes:
"I wanted to see how that was going to go down. But, first day of pads and emotions going tempers may flare up a bit. I've seen it before."
... Douglas added other highlights on the field. Later in the morning practice he made a one-handed catch on a deep pass from Chris Redman. He made the grab despite pretty good defense from Eric Brock and Daren Stone.
Harry Douglas: making the rest of the world look totally lame since 2004.