Steelers notebook: Vince Williams, Le'Veon Bell bury practice hatchet
August 3, 2014 12:00 AM
Steelers linebacker Vince Williams (98) says there's no bad blood between him and Le'Veon Bell after a scuffle in practice Friday night.
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Twelve hours after they brawled in practice Friday night, linebacker Vince Williams said there is no ill-will between him and running back Le'Veon Bell.
Williams went up against Bell in the backs-on-backers drill Friday before 7,000 fans at Latrobe Memorial Stadium. Williams bull-rushed Bell and pushed him deep into the backfield. The whistle did not blow and they continued to battle until Williams landed on top of Bell.
The fight turned into an all-out melee a few seconds later when running back LeGarrette Blount, who was not dressed for practice, rushed to Bell's defense and dived into the pile. Chaos ensued until coaches were able to break up the fight.
"Me and Le'Veon are cool," Williams said. "We're just competitors going after it. Things like that happen. It's not like me and him don't like each other or have a beef. When you get in a heated drill like that, he wants to win and I want to win. Things like that happen."
Williams, entering his second season, made another strong impression Saturday afternoon. He leveled running back Josh Harris in a team drill, then put a hard hit on running back Tauren Poole in the first goal-line scrimmage of training camp.
"Vince is one of those guys," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He has that distinguishing characteristic. It's a good thing to build the rest of his game around. We snap the ball, he's ready to play. He brings a great deal of intensity to his work."
Tomlin told reporters the first day of camp he wanted to see physicality from his players in Latrobe. Williams said no such conversation took place between Tomlin and the players.
But Williams had an idea this camp would be hard-hitting.
"He didn't tell us that, but I think it was going to be physical by nature just because how we are and the culture we have around here," Williams said. "We enjoy hitting and banging. That's the culture the Steelers bring. That's what every player here wants to bring to the camp."
Second-year receiver Justin Brown, who is competing for the fifth receiver spot, returned to practice one day after having surgery on his broken nose.
Brown's nose was broken Thursday in practice when safety Shamarko Thomas came up and took on Brown's block on a running play. Brown finished practice and did not know anything was wrong until some teammates pointed out his nose was crooked.
"I thought I was going to be able to pop it back in, but I had to go get surgery," Brown said.
The goal-line scrimmage lasted only five minutes and Tomlin did not use any of his top three backs. The carries went to undrafted free agents Poole, Jordan Hall and Harris. "What better way to get to know them," Tomlin said. "The one thing the [NFL] proves to all of us is backs explode onto the scene every year. What better way to find out about them than in a situation like that."... Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was diagnosed with a concussion and missed practice for a second consecutive day. ... Nose tackle Steve McLendon and tight end Heath Miller were given maintenance days. ... Blount returned to practice after two days off. ... Tomlin said free safety Mike Mitchell (groin) is taking "significant steps" toward to participating in practice. ... There were two more fights. Kelvin Beachum and Chris Carter got into it, as did Maurkice Pouncey and Hebron Fangupo.
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1.
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