Joe Hawley has a jaw of steel. Rookie Ra’Shede Hageman threw a punch at the center and broke his own wrist in the process — further proof that centers are the toughest men the in NFL.
According to Vaughn McClure, Hageman exited the field after the fight and sources say that the rookie defensive tackle suffered a hairline fracture.
Hageman’s draft stock suffered after concerns about his character arose. Considered a first-round talent, Hageman fell to the Falcons as the fifth selection of the second round in this year’s draft.
Coach Mike Smith spoke about his frustration for the former Minnesota standout.
“I think we’re all talking about competing and fighting for jobs, but we’re not talking about fighting each other,” Smith said, via ESPN.com. “We’ve got to understand that. It’s not what we’re about. We’re about competing and going out and trying to win a job. But we’re not about fighting one another. That’s something that happens when it gets hot. Today, it was hot, or hotter than what we’ve been used to practicing. But we’ve got to definitely get that fixed.”
Hageman wasn’t even fighting for his job with Hawley, who isn’t even in Hageman’s position group. While scuffles and arguments are typical in the training camp heat, punches are rare. A five-year veteran like Hawley is unlikely to hug it — especially because Hageman is a rookie. A fight like that takes some locker room mending.
LeGarrette Blount had similar issues, punching a teammate when he first arrived in the league, but he has had a good career and was a sought after free agent this offseason. The punch was not a good sign for Hageman, but it wasn’t a KO on his career. It should be a learning experience for the 23-year-old.