BETHLEHEM, Pa. - When a fight breaks out at training camp - and it almost always does - Andy Reid likes to say, "We're not ultimate fighters, we're football players."
However, on a day with lots of hitting, live tackling, and, as a result, plenty of tussles, the Eagles looked like boxers.
On the undercard were some heavyweight tilts.
But the main attraction - Riley Cooper vs. Ellis Hobbs - was a battle of opposites.
It was wide receiver vs. cornerback, rookie vs. veteran, big guy vs. small, and second-team offense vs. first-team defense.
The fight took place in the morning when Cooper, a fifth-round draft pick, lined up against Hobbs, who is in his second season with the Eagles.
"It was just man-to-man bump-and-run," the 6-foot-3, 222-pound Cooper said.
Hobbs bumped and bumped and bumped - maybe past five yards, he conceded.
"He was on the line doing his job, and I gave him a shove and he didn't like it," Cooper said. "So we had a little talk about it."
They did more than talk.
They got in each other's faces, and when Hobbs turned, Cooper tossed him to the ground.
"A cheap shot," Hobbs called it. The 5-9, 195-pound cornerback got up and ripped Cooper's helmet off his head. He then removed his own helmet, he said, "to make it fair." But linebacker Stewart Bradley already had blindsided Cooper.
"Ellis is like 110 pounds," Bradley said. "You've got to stick up for him."
Hobbs went after Cooper, but a number of teammates jumped in and broke it up.
"I don't know how everybody else feels, but I speak for myself: I'm not going to just sit here and take crap," said Hobbs, who has plenty of challengers for his starting cornerback spot. "We're going to play hard, we're going to play hard the right way."
Hobbs said he already had scouted Cooper's Florida film before the two went at it in the first practice on Friday.
"He likes to put his hand on people, and when you've got a guy like that, they don't like to be touched," Hobbs said. "As you see, when he gets touched, he gets riled up a little bit. Riley gets riled up. . . . But I'd rather see him do that than cower down."
The brawls on the undercard featured players fighting for starting positions and roster spots. Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and tackle Jeraill McCuller got into it during one-on-one drills in the morning. That scuffle had been boiling since the first three days, when there were primarily rookies at camp and Te'o-Nesheim and McCuller continually pounded on each other.
In the afternoon, defensive tackle Antonio Dixon and center Mike McGlynn mixed it up.
"We've got some new people out here trying to prove themselves," Reid said. "With competition comes fighting. Now, listen, I told the players, 'These things do happen, but don't make it a habit.' We're not ultimate fighters, we're football players.' "
There were also a few moments of over-aggressiveness. Linebacker Ernie Sims, playing in his first Eagles camp, thumped receiver Jason Avant to the ground after he caught a pass over the middle. It was just a "thud" (non-tackling) drill, and Reid sent Sims to the box to feel shame.
"Ernie Sims is a physical football player, and he's just got to learn I'm going to give you plenty of time to get after each other, so there's just certain drills that you can't do that in," Reid said.
Said Sims: "I'm going to abide by his rules the best I can."
Defensive end Darryl Tapp bounced quarterback and fellow Virginia Tech alumnus Michael Vick to the turf. That's a no-no with quarterbacks off-limits.
"That was Tapp? We'll definitely have some words later on," Vick joked.
There will be plenty of time with 21/2 weeks of camp remaining.
Ding, ding, ding.