GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Day one of the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans joint practices was highlighted by one scuffle between the two teams.
Texans rookie defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr. delivered a cheap shot to Packers rookie tight end Jace Sternberger after he caught a pass over the middle during a team drill.
Sternberger’s helmet flew off and Johnson stood over Sternberger and posed. Packers players then rushed to Sternberger’s defense and the practice turned into a short scuffle.
True story pic.twitter.com/4Nl2vfTAWa— Tanner Carrillo (@Tstorm3) August 5, 2019
Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien kicked Johnson Jr. out of practice but for the Packers players that wasn’t enough. Packers receiver Davante Adams called Johnson Jr. a “coward” for his cheap shot.
“I mean that's unnecessary. You got plenty of time for that in the games -- you get fined. You be a coward and do stuff like that in practice. It's not a good look so we take care of each other over here. I don't know how they practice. I don't know what they do over there but there's consequences for stuff like that. If you don't care then you don't care. You just have to deal with it. We like to take care of each other,” Adams said.
A Thread of quotes on Lonnie Johnson's hit/flex on Jace Sternberger— Baillie Burmaster (@bayburmTV) August 5, 2019
WR Davante Adams
"That's unnecessary. We are in practice. We have plenty of time for that, you can do it in the games and get fined. You can be a coward and do stuff like that in practice- it's not a good look."
Sternberger’s teammate Jimmy Graham mirrored Adam’s response calling the hit “ridiculous.”
“[Lonnie Johnson Jr. is] a rookie and he needs to know that you can't be hitting guys like that in practice...that's ridiculous. We aren't going to stand for that here, obviously. We are going to play on Thursday, do that then. 32 has to chill out, honestly," Graham said.
Johnson Jr. tweeted his response "Not trying to hurt nobody just wanna be great."
Not trying to hurt nobody just wanna be great ����‼️ https://t.co/tv734EE9TH— Lonnie Johnson jr. (@Lonnie30johnson) August 5, 2019
Sternberger was checked for a concussion and cleared before the end of practice.
“It's just football at the end of the day,” Sternberger said. “It's cliché. It's football. It happens. Everybody was really about what they say about us being a family and everybody wants us to be a player-led team. I think everybody showed that today. It was cool to see that.”
Fights were a key topic that Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur wanted to avoid, even going as far as avoiding receiver versus defensive back 1-on-1s.
He called the practice a little “chippy” and said he made it very clear to his team that he didn’t want any fights during the joint practices.
“I thought there was no place for that,” LaFleur said. “I was pretty clear with our guys that we weren’t doing that stuff.”
LaFleur who remains a boot as he continues to recover from his surgery from his torn Achilles said he also had Sternberger’s back.
“I’m going to back them up too,” LaFleur said. “I might not be able to do a lot but I’m going to try. I slowly got over there.
“If they want to play like that and they want to take side shots which we were told wasn't going to happen. You know what, then you going to keep seeing some of your players out there getting laid out in the middle of the field like they laid [Sternberger] out," Packers offensive lineman Billy Turner said.
Packers offensive lineman Lucas Patrick was first to Sternberger’s defense.
"It is what it is. We've got a rule we live by- team first. Jace is a teammate and protect the team at all cost," Patrick said.
The Packers-Texans joint practices continue on Tuesday at 10:15 a.m. The Packers and Texans will play each other on Thursday, Aug. 8 for both team’s first preseason game.