Former Alabama team captains get into altercation in Falcons camp
University of Alabama football fans may want to check out the next episode of Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons after two former Crimson Tide teammates got into a brief altercation Wednesday.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, cornerback Javier Arenas and guard Mike Johnson briefly mixed it up during a half-speed drill after Arenas hit running back Devonta Freeman harder than Johnson liked. After a pause the lineman punched him, but it didn’t turn into a full fight.
Arenas is 5 foot 9, 197 pounds, while Johnson is listed as 6-6, 304.
The skirmish occurred the day after the reality show’s season premiere, during which Atlanta coaches repeatedly emphasized that the team had to get tougher following last season’s 4-12 finish.
After numerous brawls subsequently broke out during the first few practices, cameras caught new offensive line coach Mike Tice telling his players that they had to “defend and protect each other,” and that “Toughness is defined by do you got the guy next to you’s back?”
Arenas, who signed a free agent with the Falcons, is listed as a second-string cornerback on the preseason depth chart, while Devin Hester is expected to return kicks and punts.
Johnson also has a one-year deal after spending all of last season on injured reserve after sustaining a broken leg and dislocated ankle. He was competing to be the starting right tackle when the injury occurred, but is now listed as the backup left guard.
Former Crimson Tide wide receiver Julio Jones is also on the Falcons. Coming off a foot surgery coaches are being careful with him thus far in training camp.
Arenas and Johnson were Alabama’s team captains of the 2009 national champions along with linebacker Rolando McClain, who after retiring twice is attempting a comeback with the Dallas Cowboys.
Atlanta will open the preseason on Friday night against Miami, which has no former Crimson Tide players on its roster. For a full listing of Alabama players in NFL training camps, check out Wednesday’s story on Saturday Down South: Numerous former Alabama players poised to make preseason NFL debuts.
The next Hard Knocks episode will air Tuesday at 10 p.m. (ET).