Practice ends after Redskins, Texans brawl _lowres

Associated Press photo by Gene J. Puskar Saints owner Tom Benson, left, his wife Gayle, center, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attend a ceremonial ground breaking on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's planned renovation of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and Village in Canton, Ohio, on Friday.

RICHMOND, Va. — The joint portion of the final practice involving the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans came to an end Saturday when a series of fights broke out.

The teams had just started working against each other when the first skirmish occurred. When more followed on subsequent plays, and on both fields, the coaches decided to break the teams apart and each team worked on its own field for the rest of the session.

The change in plans caused Redskins coach Jay Gruden to agree the day was somewhat wasted.

“Initially we had a couple on our field on the offensive field, and I was just going to cut that period out and have everybody go to the side, let everybody cool down and finish practice,” Gruden said, “but then the other one broke out on the other field and it wasn’t worth it. Injuries take place.

“Obviously, it wasn’t a good situation, but we missed an opportunity to get better today against a good team.”

Gruden and Texans coach Bill O’Brien initially tried to let their teams know the fighting wasn’t acceptable, but Gruden added: “Unfortunately, it wasn’t two people. It was a group of men” and “For whatever reason, it escalated into a nasty brawl.”

O’Brien said the Texans benefited from “two and a half” of their three days practicing against the Redskins.

And both coaches agreed that joint workouts hold great value in helping to prepare a team for the start of the season.

“Other than having to separate today, we still got work done,” O’Brien said. “But the two days that we were together there, we got a lot of situational work. It was good to work against them. Being in the hotel as a team, there’s some bonding that goes on there, too.”

Cowboys

CARR BREAKS HAND, BRYANT OUT WITH HAMSTRING STRAIN: In Oxnard, Calif., Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr is returning to Texas for surgery on a broken right hand, and All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant missed practice Saturday because of a strained hamstring.

Coach Jason Garrett said defensive end Kenneth Boatright remained hospitalized two days after injuring his neck in practice but that all tests had come back normal.

Carr, who is set for surgery Monday in the Dallas area, was hurt engaging a receiver during practice Thursday.

Bryant tweaked his hamstring the same day, but Garrett said the injury isn’t serious.

At running back, Darren McFadden (hamstring) won’t get his first practice at camp until after the Cowboys’ preseason opener at San Diego on Thursday, and Lance Dunbar (ankle) is still out.

Giants

COUGHLIN SAYS HE SPOKE TO PIERRE-PAUL ON FRIDAY: In East Rutherford, N.J., Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after practice on Saturday he finally spoke with injured defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

“I spoke with him late Friday afternoon,” Coughlin said.

Pierre-Paul, who led the team with 12½ sacks last season, suffered a serious hand injury in a July 4 fireworks accident.

“Do I know more about how he is? No. He said he’s not going to come here until he’s ready to play,” Coughlin said.

“I’m not going to even speculate on when that is. He sounded good and sounded like he wanted to get back here. He wishes he was back here. Little by little, we’re talking more with him. He’s trying to make contact with us and that’s a good sign.”

Pierre-Paul has yet to sign his $14.8 million franchise tender, so he is not under contract.