Aaron Donald fight: Rams DL swings two helmets at Bengals players during brawl at practice

By | August 25, 2022

The Bengals and the Rams enjoyed one of “the most polite joint practices in history” on Wednesday.

Things weren’t nearly as cordial on Thursday. The reigning AFC and NFC champions engaged in a wild brawl that brought the practice to a halt.

The melée started after a run play during which Bengals offensive tackle La’el Collins was engaged with a Rams defender. Collins took exception to how long the Los Angeles player grabbed him from behind and began throwing punches.

From there, “all hell broke loose,” per ESPN’s Ben Baby.

MORE: Aaron Donald’s timeline of dirty hits, plays with the Rams

To nobody’s surprise, Rams instigator Aaron Donald was involved in the fight. However, he may have taken things a bit too far with his antics.

Indeed, that’s Donald in the middle of the fray swinging a couple of Bengals helmets at members of the opposing team. He fired some big shots with the equipment in hand before several players including a couple of Rams were able to get him to the ground.

After that, a coach appeared to restrain him from further involvement in the brawl.

It’s unclear exactly what prompted Donald’s helmet swing, but many on social media expressed their disdain for what happened. That included former Seahawks, 49ers and Buccaneers corner Richard Sherman.

Others likened Donald’s swing to that of Myles Garrett, who hit Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head with the helmet at the end of a Browns vs. Steelers game in 2019. Garrett was suspended for the rest of the season (six games) by the NFL.

MORE: Revisiting the Myles Garrett/Mason Rudolph helmet hit

That said, Bengals coach Zac Taylor didn’t make much of the fight when reporters caught up with him in its immediate aftermath.

“It just got a little ‘scuffly,'” Taylor said. “So, we just called it. We were in the last period and we got two. really good days of work in. So, was it worth getting in the extra couple of plays? No.”

Rams coach Sean McVay was a bit more worked up about the incident. Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweeted that a “furious” McVay jumped into the scrum to try to break it up.

“I don’t know what [it] was,” McVay explained of the brawl. “I just see guys swinging and some guys have helmets on, some don’t, you just never know what can occur. My biggest concern is unnecessary injuries.”

For those wondering why McVay isn’t concerned about a potential suspension, the NFL is not responsible for overseeing the conduct of players at practice, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The responsibility falls on the clubs, so Donald almost certainly won’t be suspended.

That said, it’s unlikely that Donald will play against the Bengals on Saturday given McVay’s preseason penchant for resting starters. Regardless, it will be worth watching to see if any bad blood from practice spills over into the game.