Reason to Be Concerned With Fight Between Rams’ Britt & Johnson?


The St. Louis Rams conducted their second organized team activity on Thursday, and things are already getting heated. As ESPN’s Nick Wagoner reports, wide receiver Kenny Britt and cornerback Trumaine Johnson got into a physical altercation during the practice.

It’s a given that fights are going to occur during the course of preseason practices, as the constant stress that comes through repetitive practices without any games to take out anger on an opponent can really get to some players. However, it’s a bit unusual to see this kind of activity going on during the second official practice of the year. The Rams have to hope that in an offseason where they added some controversial figures to the fold, including Britt, former criminals Greg Reid and Mo Alexander, and the NFL’s first openly gay player, Michael Sam, that this kind of divided behavior is the exception rather than the norm.

It certainly can’t be the best of first impressions for Britt, who was already considered a character risk when he signed with the Rams and then further complicated things with a scandal on Instagram during draft weekend. Given that coach Jeff Fisher has previously acted rather harshly in the wake of repeated bad behavior—for example, claiming troubled wide receiver Titus Young on waivers last year but then cutting him at the first sign of conflict, then releasing guard Rokevious Watkins when he showed up overweight to training camp, following previous conditioning issues and a drug suspension—it wouldn’t be a complete shock if the Rams cut Britt after this incident. He could be a big addition to the receiving corps, but they’ll have to determine whether his production is worth the potential issues that he could cause with team chemistry.

On the bright side, it’s nice to see that he was making big plays during the practice, perhaps showing improvement over his 2013 form, which caused him to be pushed out of a starting role and catch just 12 passes for 96 yards over the course of the season. If he can straighten himself out, Britt would certainly provide some depth to a Rams receiving corps that grew rather thin down the stretch last year and will be missing the suspended Stedman Bailey to begin 2014.

At the same time, it’s not good to see the starting corners, Johnson and Jenkins, both getting burned right away. Jenkins should be relatively secure in a starting role based on his electric rookie performance and a solid sophomore campaign in 2013, but Johnson can’t have a terrible offseason if he wants to hold onto a starting job. The Rams have too many other talented corners—Brandon McGee, E.J. Gaines, and Marcus Roberson, to name a few—who are itching to make an impression and prove that they can be more reliable than Johnson at the other outside spot.