Matt Nagy returns to his teaching roots when dealing with a Bears’ practice scuffle
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — It’s a tradition that’s not so welcome but often inevitable when it comes to a National Football League training camp.
What’s unusual about the Bears is that their first one came after they ended the Bourbonnais portion of their preseason workouts.
Receiver Javon Wims and cornerback Prince Amukamara had a dust-up during the team’s practice on Tuesday at Halas Hall — their first since leaving Olivet Nazarene University. The scuffle was stopped before anyone got hurt, and the practiced carried on like normal.
“We’re mature enough not to let it linger or hold grudges in the locker room,” said Amukamara about the fight. “But I would say it just shows that we’re ready to play someone else this week and hit somebody else.”
Funny that coach Matt Nagy was asked on Sunday when the team was breaking camp about how they’d yet to have a physical altercation during training camp workouts.
“I’m 100 percent putting it on y’all, because you jinxed it,” Nagy joked with reporters on Tuesday, in reference to the question on Sunday. “Because the last time we were together you guys said no fights.”
But one did happen, and when it came to dealing with it, Nagy referred to his educational discipline at the University of Delaware when discussing how he diffused it.
“I got an education in teaching and I should have it in psychology. But they came out and we just talked,” said Nagy of handling the Amukamara-Wims tussle. “Tell me your side, tell me your side, and how do we fix it. There was an apology and to me, that’s a win.”
Who apologized? Nagy chose not to say, but dealing with confrontations in practice is something he does expect, even if it didn’t happen before Tuesday.
The key for the coach is simply not to let it get out of hand.
“There’s different levels of it, and there are some levels that are out of control and it can ruin out. There’s other ones where guys just; it’s competitive, they’re chirping,” Nagy said. “Guys want to do well. The beauty of our sport and sports, in general, is that you care. These guys care, and they’re trying to make teams, they’re trying to make plays, and sometimes the juices get going.
“It’s my job to clear the dust; settle the dust-up.”
This won’t be the first time he does, and very, very likely, not the last while leading the Bears.