|Daniel and Lofton made contact -- again -- on Wednesday. (US Presswire)|
With all that's gone on with the Saints this offseason, it wouldn't be surprising at all to find out that everyone hanging around that team is a little touchy at the moment. Based on the little skirmish that broke out between quarterback Chase Daniel and linebacker Curtis Lofton during minicamp Wednesday, that could very well be the case.
Friend of EOF and Saints Rapid Reporter Larry Holder was on hand for the skirmish and reported on Wednesday that during one play, Lofton ended up brushing against Daniel during a non-throw. Daniel didn't like Lofton's proximity so he "fired the ball at Lofton."
"Quarterbacks, they're a little touchy when it comes to stuff like that," Lofton said, per Bradley Handwerger of WWLTV.com. “I was walking away and he gave me the look and I was like, 'He better not do that.' He threw the ball but it bounced and it hit me and I had to have words after that."
After Daniel chunked the ball at Lofton, Lofton went Daniel and after that, according to Holder, "a massive scrum occurred, but no punches were thrown."
“Sooner or later, it was like 30 people,” Daniel said. “I just said, ‘Hey, I'm out of here. I'm going back to the huddle to get ready for the next play.”
According to Holder, acting head coach Joe Vitt joked about the incident afterward -- this isn't the first time he's used humor to deflect an offseason issue -- saying that he would "take the team to a petting zoo on Thursday."
LOLs aside, there are a couple interesting factors about this skirmish. My favorite is courtesy of Handwerger, who points out that Painter and Lofton have a history together, as Daniel crushed Lofton during a Missouri-Oklahoma game in college. In a specific play that both guys remember (which you can watch here), Daniel takes a quarterback option to the right, keeps the ball and gets absolutely destroyed by Lofton.
"I remember everything about that play,” Lofton said. “I even got a picture. It's at my house."
The second is that both Lofton and Daniel are currently replacing the two highest-profile Saints. Daniel's serving as the No. 1 quarterback with record-breaking Drew Brees not at offseason training activities because of a contract dispute. And Lofton's filling the void left by Jonathan Vilma, who was suspended for the season by the NFL because of his role in the Saints bounty scandal.
So, knowing all of that, is this little skirmish cause for concern? Probably not, no. But there are definitely two different ways you can spin this. Either the Saints are a) fired up with their "us against the world" attitude and ready to lash out at opponents on the field, or b) the Saints are tense and there are concerns with how the roster will mesh this season without Sean Payton leading things from the sidelines.
Lofton, Daniel and everyone else on the Saints will absolutely tell you it's "a." (Daniel and Lofton did just that following the practice itself.) Time will tell if they're correct.
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