HOUSTON - Things got heated Wednesday at the joint practice between the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers.
The teams were on the field together Wednesday morning for the first of two joint workouts and the intensity was noticeable immediately.
Working out on the field closest to the thousands of fans in attendance, the Texans offense began the day on the field working against the Niners defense.
Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was lined up against Niners cornerback Jimmie Ward when Hopkins cut back on his route and Ward pushed Hopkins' helmet off.
Hopkins still made the catch, but then Ward tried to strip the ball out of his hands.
That's when Hopkins, with dreadlocks flying, pushed Ward, then punched him in the helmet.
The two engaged with Ward throwing several punches at a helmetless Hopkins.
The pair fell on the ground, with Ward on top of Hopkins.
Several Texans and Niners players then jumped in to break up the fight.
Neither player practiced after the skirmish. There were also no other physical altercations.
“You know, it’s a shame it was the first play, a little scuffle. And we’ve made it very clear that if anyone throws punches or if you do anything that will get you ejected from the game, you’ll be done with practice," 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said.
"So, both players were removed from practice. Hopefully they learned it and come back tomorrow and practice. It’s a missed opportunity on a bunch of levels. One, you don’t get to face a guy like Hopkins like you said. But, it’s a trickle-down effect. Now, other people need to pick up Jimmie’s reps," Saleh said.
"I’m sure on their side, receivers had to pick up for Hopkins. It’s something that they’ve got to be aware of. It’s a real thing when you get ejected in a game, it’s a trickle-down effect all the way through," Saled added.
"Hopefully, both sides got the picture, got the message and we can come out here and have a functional practice like we did," he said. "I know Jimmie. Jimmie is such a big competitor and I’m sure he regrets it."
"But, hopefully we get him out there tomorrow and it’ll be, I mean, him and Hopkins ended up shaking hands afterwards, anyway, so it was just the heat of the battle," Saleh said.
Both teams were happy to get the work in against another team.
The Texans host the 49ers in their second preseason game Saturday night at NRG Stadium.
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