LAKE FOREST – After Bears veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara and second-year wide receiver Javon Wims engaged in the first real fight of training camp Tuesday – the first day back at Halas Hall after two weeks in Bourbonnais – coach Matt Nagy joked that it was the media’s fault for jinxing his club, which had just completed the Olivet Nazarene portion of the preseason without a punch thrown.
“I’m 100 percent putting it [on] y’all because you jinxed it,” he said. “The last time we were together, you guys said, ‘no fights.’ Then on top of that we have two of the friendliest people on the team. So it’s ... [they’re] competitors. But I wasn’t really worried about it.”
Our previous visit with the coach, to which Nagy alluded, happened Sunday, when Akiem Hicks and Kyle Long were involved in a heated exchange that defused before it turned into fisticuffs. That wasn’t the case Tuesday, when Wims and Amukamara ended up on the ground after a few blows and Eddie Jackson also had to be separated when he followed Wims over to the sideline for the offense.
Much like Sunday, Nagy ensured the two men made amends in the middle of the field, sharing their sides of the story before shaking hands.
“To me, there are different levels of it. And there’s some levels that can get out of control. It can ruin you,” Nagy said. “There’s other ones where guys, it’s competitive. They’re chirping. The guys wanna do well. The beauty of our sport, and sports in general, is that you care. These guys care. They’re trying to make plays and trying to make teams. Sometimes the juices get going. That’s my job, to make sure I come in there and clear the dust.”
Amukamara, who showed his veteran wisdom in not retaliating with Wims swinging multiple times at the cornerback’s helmet-protected head, said he learned the hard way in college about how dangerous that can be, hurting his hand in a fight with Niles Paul.
Get your kicks: It was a lackluster day in the kicking competition between Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro, with both challengers missing a pair of field goals and hitting an upright.
“Again, it’s rare that kickers make every single kick that they take,” Nagy said of Fry and Pineiro, each of whom finished the day 6 of 8. “But there’s a balance to that, and you have to understand that the preseason is going to be time for us to really evaluate those kicks, and weight them.”
Injury front: Trey Burton continued to progress after missing four practices last week after an apparent setback from sports hernia surgery, working in individual and 7-on-7 drills. Anthony Miller (ankle) and Aaron Lynch (shoulder) didn’t participate. Akiem Hicks exited briefly to have his hand looked at but quickly returned.
Hall pass: Nagy said of the Bears’ decision to waive undrafted rookie wide receiver Emanuel Hall on Tuesday morning, “A lot of times it comes down to numbers.”
Indeed, the Bears suddenly have power in numbers in their wide receiver corps, and Hall just couldn’t stay on the field coming off sports hernia surgery in the spring.
But it’s interesting that he wasn’t waived/injured, potentially giving the Bears an opportunity to retain his rights if he clears waivers. It’s also telling of how far their receiver corps has come in only the past 18 months or so, when they ended the 2017 season with perhaps the worst group in the NFL, that they felt they could afford to cut a unique talent like Hall.