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Media Too Close For Comfort During Jets’ Training Camp Scuffle

Late-July media throng in Cortland (credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images), Joe McKnight (credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

Late-July media throng in Cortland (credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images), Joe McKnight (credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It seems there’s never a dull moment in Cortland. At least when the Jets are in town.

The team gave their fans in attendance at training camp — not to mention the media — more than they signed up for when a skirmish on Monday briefly took on a life of its own.

A brawl started after running back Joe McKnight was forced out of bounds by defensive back D’Anton Lynn, whose father is New York’s running backs coach. Tempers flared and about 20 players were involved in a sideline brawl,

“That was a first,” Lynn said. “That’s never happened to me before, so I lost my temper for a second.”

The two got into it, with McKnight charging Lynn and throwing a punch that didn’t land.

“If you’re fighting, I mean, are you going to just love-tap him?” McKnight said. “I mean, you’re going to try to hit him. It’s a fight.”

Offensive and defensive players ran over to the two and a pileup ensued, with players rolling through advertisement placards and into an area where reporters were watching. Several reporters scattered as the players jumped on each other and wrestled a few feet in front of a barricade where fans sit.

“I felt like I could hardly breathe,” said Lynn, an undrafted free agent from Penn State. “Everyone was on top of me, so I had to get out of there.”

Meanwhile, several other players jokingly acted as if they were taking swings at each other.

McKnight said Ryan told him: “Keep playing hard.”

It all lasted about a minute, and the Jets (No. 17 in the AP Pro32) went back to team drills as if nothing happened — with none of the players suffering any apparent injuries.

“Sometimes, offense and defense, you’re out there competing and sometimes fights happen,” Lynn said. “It’s nothing personal.”

The two said they would talk to each other, and things would be smoothed over.

“We’re not trying to hurt each other,” Lynn said. “I doubt he was trying to hurt me and I wasn’t trying to hurt him. It just kind of escalated for a minute. It was more wrestling than anything.”

Lynn did see the irony in the fact that he was fighting with a guy who’s coached by his father.

“Yeah,” D’Anton Lynn said with a smile. “He was probably rooting for Joe.”

McKnight said he didn’t even realize who he was going up against until his teammates told him.

“It was something that just happened spur of the moment,” McKnight said. “I’m over it now. We’re teammates. I love him, just like I love his Dad. So, we’re moving on.”

Quarterback Mark Sanchez said he was watching the fight from “an advantageous position” and wasn’t happy about the scuffle.

“There’s no excuse for it,” Sanchez said. “There’s no throwing a ball at a teammate. There’s no shoving a guy out of bounds into the signs. One, it doesn’t look good, and two, it sends the wrong message to our team. We want to take care of our guys. I get it, guys are competitive, guys are fiery. That’s nice, but you want to take it to the brink and compete to the last possible moment and always remember to protect your teammates.

“So, I don’t like to see it.”

McKnight later went down after taking a hard hit, and walked gingerly off the field with a trainer by his side. McKnight said he suffered a stinger, but was fine after practice.

“That stuff doesn’t help,” Sanchez said. “You get too physical out there and hurt a guy on your team … we’re playing together.”

Scuffles in training camp are fairly common around the league, particularly during the second week of practices. The Jets play their first preseason game Friday night against the Bengals in Cincinnati.

“When you go against the same people every single day, that stuff tends to happen,” Lynn said. “I think we’re looking forward to hitting someone from a different team for once.”

Some of it was telling, like Rex Ryan showing off his new “hands-on” approach by breaking up the scuffle. Some of it was just plain old funny.

So without further ado, the training camp fight, as tweeted by members of the media (and the Jets themselves):

Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger: “Brawl! After being pushed out of bounds, Joe McKnight threw ball at D’Anton Lynn’s helmet. Snowballed.”

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News: “Wow. … Fight Spills into media area.”

Jets: “Tempers flare between Joe McKnight and D’Anton Lynn, a few signs fall over in the process.”

Mehta: “That fight was insane. … 20 players involved.”

Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday: “And NOW I’m (ticked) cause 20 players fell thru barricade onto my stuff!!! If my recorder’s broken, it’s ON.”

Mehta: “Rex Ryan ran over and broke up the fight, which was about 10 feet away from barricade separating fans.”

Martin: “My sweater has grass stains & cleatprints. #STEAMING.”

CBS Sports: “Revis and Cumberland with some shoving. This one doesn’t escalate.”

Dennis Waszak Jr. of The Associated Press: “Sanchez (on) McKnight-DLynn scuffle: ‘I’m not a fan of it.’ “

Vrentas: McKnight says all good btwn them. ‘I love him, just like I love his dad.’ “

There was even video tweeted of the aftermath, which can be seen here.

Were you following the fight on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below!

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)