FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The brief but intense fight between New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler and Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery that led to both players being ejected from Monday’s joint practice was no laughing matter to head coaches Bill Belichick and John Fox, but Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long found a way to keep it light afterward.
With his brother Chris on the opposite sideline, Long said of the sideline-clearing scuffle, “I was just making sure [he] wasn’t coming to dropkick me. I turned around and, of course, he was making a beeline for me.”
Kyle, 27, is in his fourth season with the Bears. Chris, 31, signed a one-year deal with the Patriots after spending the first eight years of his career with the Rams.
The two had a few one-on-one matchups during Monday's practice, and unlike some of their days growing up, there were no fights.
“Today was a really good opportunity to line up and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s my brother right across from me! It was just a lot of fun. I’m proud of him, and we’re really lucky to be in this situation,” Kyle said.
For his part, Chris said he took little joy in making contact with his brother during drills.
“He’s like a big tree stump,” Chris cracked. “Luckily, I’m out there on the edge, and we didn’t have to deal with other much.”
Kyle said the siblings' mother, Diane, was in attendance at practice, as was Chris’ wife, Megan, and the couple’s son, Waylon.
Their father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long, grew up in nearby Charlestown, Massachusetts, and later attended Milford (Mass.) High School, which is about 20 miles north of Gillette Stadium.
Kyle said he wished the Bears -- in town for three days of practices with the Patriots before Thursday’s preseason game -- had more off time so he could explore some his father’s roots.
“I understand where our family comes from and the history [here] is something that’s very important,” he said. “I was thinking about where I could go to see some Revolutionary War stuff. I wanted to see some historical sites, but the schedule is just not going to allow it. We’re tight. It’s training camp, we understand that. It’s a business trip.”
As for the fight in practice, Butler and Jeffery were jawing at each other in the end zone. Jeffery grasped Butler’s face mask, and Butler appeared to take a few swipes at Jeffery.
Bears tight end Greg Scruggs, a four-year veteran out of Louisville, was the third man in and that’s when things started to escalate with all players. Scruggs said he was trying to play the role of peacemaker and stop Jeffery from getting fined for fighting in practice, but his actions led to more players joining the fray.
Per a pre-practice agreement between Belichick and Fox, Butler and Jeffery were ejected from the remainder of practice.