On Thursday, a camp fight broke out between Will Pericak and Rodney Coe that escalated to Michael Bennett and ultimately ended with Frank Clark punching Germain Ifedi and costing both players some practices.
Frank Clark's flying punch bloodying Germain Ifedi gives rookie Ethan Pocic his 1st time as starting RT is team scrimmaging. #Seahawks— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) August 3, 2017
Training camp fights are common, but this immediately seemed different. A flying punch is not a scuffle, and comments from coaches, players, and media indicated that this was beyond the normal heated disputes teams see in practice.
Pete Carroll speaking as pointedly as he will, says there's no place for DE Frank Clark going overboard, injuring RT Germain Ifedi in fight pic.twitter.com/ruy02UHH6J— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) August 3, 2017
I'd suspend Frank from field this week & at least Chargers game. I've seen plenty of melee's & find them dumb, but this crossed the line https://t.co/87VpqTA9om— Brock Huard (@BrockESPN) August 3, 2017
The situation was also under extra scrutiny because of who Frank Clark is. While at Michigan, Clark was suspended for allegedly stealing a laptop and later dismissed from the team after being arrested for domestic violence, which lead to an eventual guilty plea to the charge of disorderly conduct. These past issues, along with uncertainty over what exactly happened during the fight, brought further scrutiny to Clark’s actions.
There is a little less uncertainty now, as an attendee at training camp that day had his camera at the ready as the training camp scuffle turned into training camp punch. Scott Granado (@scottgranado) shared some fantastic pictures that he captured that day.
These photos clearly show Clark pursuing Ifedi from across the crowd before throwing all his weight into the punch, with both men tumbling to the ground as a result. Ifedi appears to have never seen Clark or the punch coming, and lays on the ground for some time as Clark is pulled away from the pile.
According to Carroll, Clark’s 4-day absence from practice was part of the discipline the team applied for his sucker punch of Ifedi. Clark also apologized to Ifedi and his teammates, with Carroll making these comments on the Brock and Salk show:
“Frank is most remorseful about it, and he expressed that to his teammates and guaranteed them he would never go there again” Carroll told “Brock and Salk” Friday morning before speaking with the media at-large after practice. “So some really good moments and I think we’re better for it.”
“It was really stepping out of line,” Carroll said of Clark’s actions. “We had talked (at the start of camp about how) fights aren’t OK and we weren’t going to allow that to happen in any way, and then when something did break out, we pounced on it, on the opportunity to understand that everybody is on your team. This is one team; it isn’t offense, defense. Over the years we’ve always really heightened the competition, which is part of the way we do it, which we’re still doing, but there’s a line to be drawn there and also an understanding of how we do represent one another.
“I think we’re stronger for it, I think we’ve come back better because of it. Unfortunately, it took a bad incident to get that done, and both guys have really bounced back.”
Clearly, this was unacceptable to Carroll who made it clear that while he appreciates a healthy competition, will not tolerate this kind of behavior. Ifedi, a frequent instigator, may also need to reel in his behavior on the practice field. Hopefully this is the last we will hear of these kinds of fights.