Fights highlight Cowboys-Raiders practice

OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett confidently predicted that there wouldn’t be any fights during his team’s joint practices with the Oakland Raiders.

Much to his boss’ delight, Garrett was proven wrong.

A pair of brawls -- one of which involved an altercation between a Cowboys' player and a Raiders' fan -- highlighted Tuesday’s practice between the Cowboys and Raiders. A melee between the Dallas defense and Oakland offense almost spilled into the pro-Raiders portion of the crowd. The Cowboys’ offense and Raiders’ defense brawled after the final play of the practice.

“That passion, that’s mostly what I’d hoped what we would get out of getting these teams together,” said Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who half-jokingly praised the remarkable power of Raiders offensive lineman Austin Howard's uppercut punches.

The first brawl started after Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne made a form tackle of Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera, slamming him to the ground despite an agreement that there would be no tackling in the practice.

“Oh, man, I just felt like the guy dropped his shoulder on me.” Claiborne said. “I just went up and went for the tackle because he dropped his shoulder on me and it turned out a brawl.”

Claiborne celebrated after the play, waving his arms and yelling toward the Oakland fans standing a few yards away. The Raiders took exception, prompting receiver Greg Little to charge at him. Within seconds, Claiborne and Little were joined by dozens of their teammates in a full-blown melee.

The players weren’t the only ones involved in the fight. One fan swung a helmet at Cowboys cornerback B.W. Webb, who responded by taking a swipe at the fan.

“I just ran over making sure all my brothers are good,” Webb said. “I’ve got all my brothers’ back. Everybody knows that. I mean, we just got into it, man.

“Two teams going after it and happened to be some fans, too. Hey man, it happened. I wasn’t expecting that. But whoever jumped on my back, I had to get them off. Hey, you got to let them know, man, the only thing protecting you is this fence.”

The second brawl started when Cowboys undrafted rookie fullback J.C. Copeland and Raiders linebacker Sio Moore started scrapping away from the play. It wasn’t as fierce as the first fight, although players from both practice fields raced over to the action.

Cowboys-Raiders Round 2 starts at 10:30 a.m. PT Wednesday.