INDIANAPOLIS – Brotherly love was in short supply in Philadelphia’s NovaCare Complex.
As Tuesday morning’s joint practice between the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles was winding down, a free-for-all erupted that brought a premature end to the day’s work.
According to CBS4/FOX59’s Dave Griffiths, who was hand for the practice, Colts linebacker Zaire Franklin delivered a hard hit to Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell. Franklin didn’t drive Gainwell to the ground, but Philly All-Pro center and captain Jason Kelce nonetheless took exception to the forcefulness of the hit.
After the sidelines-clearing brawl and the shortened practice, Kelce was apologetic for what he described as a “cheap shot’’ on Franklin.
“We try to keep things civil on the field, and I pride myself on being a guy that sustains the emotions and level of play out there, and I let my emotions get the better of me,’’ he said. “That certainly doesn’t belong out there on the field, a little bit ashamed that it got to that level.’’
Shane Steichen made it clear that “we don’t want that in practice. We don’t want fighting.
“It was good work, but we’ve got to clean up what happened at the end.’’
Franklin has established himself as a defensive cornerstone and set a franchise record with 166 tackles last season. He’s a Philly native and was hyped for Tuesday’s work against the Eagles.
The brawl, Franklin explained, might have been a result of differing approaches to practice.
“Look, man, we (were) just out there competin’,’’ he said. “To be honest, our practice tempo is our practice tempo. Sometimes your speed ain’t their speed.
“People get offended. That’s life. We’ll be OK. Got good work in.’’
Franklin was surprised by Kelce’s reaction.
“Growing up in Philly, watching him play for a long time, a lot of respect for him,’’ he said. “Thought the OGs would at least look me in the eye before (hitting me).
“But it’s all good. I might get a chance to look him in the eye Thursday, so we’re going to be OK.’’
The Colts and Eagles wrap up their preseason schedule Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Richardson to start
Steichen announced rookie Anthony Richardson will be his starting quarterback against the Eagles. That comes after Richardson was held out of last Saturday’s game against the Chicago Bears.
“He’ll play on Thursday and it’ll be a case-by-case with a lot of these guys,’’ Steichen said. “But a lot of starters will get some reps.’’
Richardson admitted it was difficult watching the Bears game from the sideline.
“I’m a competitor. I like to play,’’ he said. “It also opened my world for me, teaching how to be more of a leader, more vocal leader, bring the energy for the squad if the energy’s not there.
“It was a win-win for me either way.’’
Even so, he’s looking forward to Thursday night.
“Just more reps,’’ Richardson said. “That’s all it is for me. More reps and trying to grind it and eat away at greatness day-by-day by getting more reps against a great team.’’
Disgruntled running back Jonathan Taylor was a spectator at Tuesday’s practice. He was away from the team the past week for personal reasons.
Taylor’s appearance came one day after a source acknowledged Taylor and his agent have been given permission to seek a trade. He remains on PUP while recovering from January surgery on his right ankle.
“I’m aware of obviously the reports of JT,’’ Steichen said, “but my focus right now is on this football team, this joint practice and getting these guys ready to play for Thursday night.’’
Steichen said Taylor has not been cleared by the medical staff.
He was asked if he’s hoping to see a resolution.
“We’re working through these things,’’ Steichen said. “I’ll refrain all those questions to Chris Ballard.’’
Linebacker Shaquille Leonard did not make the trip to Philly. He remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol after suffering head trauma in last week’s joint work with the Bears.
Among players who returned to practice were defensive end DeForest Buckner (foot), tight ends Mo Alie-Cox (hamstring) and Drew Ogletree (shoulder) and center Ryan Kelly (foot).
Tight end Jelani Woods (hamstring) remained out.
Wideout Isaiah McKenzie limped off the field with an apparent injury to his right knee, but returned.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.