Thanks to head coach Andy Reid's "30-And-Over Club," Monday morning's full-contact practice lacked some of the Eagles' more physical players.
No Jon Runyan. No Brian Dawkins. Just a lot of younger guys anxious to get on the field, to get hitting.
And for the fans that might have missed the bigger stars, those young guys delivered loudly.
No fewer than three fights broke out during the morning session, bringing fans to their feet and providing one of the more entertaining practices of training camp so far. Perhaps trying to get noticed or just responding to what might be a cheap shot, the youngsters got in each others' faces, talked smack and got some shoves in.
"It was pretty intense altogether, because the vets weren't out here," said tackle Winston Justice, who filled in for Runyan. "So a lot of young guys felt like it was a chance to get some reps in."
The bell rang for the extracurricular activity at about 9:15 AM, when wide receiver Michael Gasperson pushed Stewart Bradley to the ground after a play, which sprung Quintin Mikell into action. Eventually, lineman Nick Cole got involved, and the decibel levels at Lehigh escalated.
"It's kind of one of those things that happens, I mean, football is a physical sport," Gasperson said. "It's nothing planned or premeditated, you know?"
Mikell wasn't yet done. He was the centerpiece of a later scuffle after Max Jean-Gilles trucked him late. Sean Considine, giving away nearly 150 pounds, lowered his shoulder into Jean-Gilles' girth. That's when Justice entered the ring – for the first time.
Justice later blasted Omar Gaither after what he evidently thought was a late hit. Mikell got back into the tie-up, and so did Bradley.
The short tempers, Mikell said, arose from a variety of things. Hot, sunny weather? Yup. Little things building up from last week? Check. General excitement to get onto the field? That, too.
"It's part of the game, cleaning up the pile. That's what linemen do," Mikell said. "But you do that in games. (The offense is) playing like it's a game, so we came out today and we're playing like a game, too."
The intensity translated to actual gameplay, as well. After his round of fisticuffs, Considine seemed to kick into an extra gear. He brought down Greg Lewis on a failed reverse attempt, and stared a hole right through him as he ripped the ball from his hands.
There are no hard feelings, Mikell said. Nothing's a calculated hit, just heat-of-the-moment stuff. The players understand each others' mindset. Hey, everyone is fighting for a job in training camp.
You just have to expect that people are going to fight back.
"Hey, that's their mentality this year, I love it," Mikell said. "The linemen … they got to do it in practice, to do it in the games. That's fine, but just know that if they're going to do it, we're going to come back."