A day after a dangerous incident and an all-out brawl that came within reach of fans at Oxnard, the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys concluded their two days of joint practices Wednesday with another intense session that included a number of small scrums and had both teams excited to possibly repeat this again next season.
Though the first session featured a Raiders fan swinging a replica helmet at a Cowboys player and cornerback B.W. Webb swinging back at the fan, the action on Wednesday was all between the lines. There were a handful of smaller fights, with players from both sides taking offense to hard hits and trash talk, but nothing got out of hand.
"Today we handled it a little bit better than we did yesterday," Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said. "I think the intensity level was sky-high yesterday, that's why a lot of fights broke out. But I think today a lot of the veteran guys on both sides of the ball did a great job of handling all the potential fights. We did a good job today."
Webb had a fan start an altercation with him and went back at the fan twice before he was pulled away by coaches.
"It's definitely a dangerous situation," Webb said. "I don't know why fans would want to jump on this side of the fence. I don't think they'd like it too much on this side. "I wasn't expecting that, but whoever jumped on my back, I had to get them off."
Romo to play
Quarterback Tony Romo will play his first game for the Cowboys since undergoing back surgery for a herniated disk last December.
Romo will start for the Cowboys in Saturday's exhibition game against the Baltimore Ravens. Romo missed Dallas' exhibition opener against San Diego as the Cowboys are easing him back into things after his second back surgery in the last two years.
Romo said he gave no thought to skipping the preseason to make sure he stayed healthy, saying the only way to get better at football is to play football. It will be his first chance to play in a game under new play caller Scott Linehan.
Cushing back at practice
For Brian Cushing, there's no substitute for being on the field.
The Houston Texans linebacker returned to practice on Wednesday, what he called "a very small step" as he comes back from his second consecutive season-ending injury on his left leg.
"Being back with the team is the most important thing," Cushing said. "If I can get out here, I can go through some game-like situations, some real, live-speed stuff, and that's going to help a lot."
Cushing had been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of training camp. He tore his lateral collateral ligament and broke his fibula in Week 7 last year after a low hit by Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles. In 2012, Cushing tore the anterior cruciate ligament in Week 5 against the New York Jets.
Maine Gov. threatens boycott
Maine Gov. Paul LePage, outraged that Ray Rice received only a two-game suspension for a domestic violence arrest, pledged to boycott the league and called on its commissioner to take the issue seriously.
In a scathing letter sent to Roger Goodell on Tuesday, the outspoken Republican governor said the punishment given to the Ravens running back sends the message that it's OK "for professional athletes to beat women, just for the sake of ratings."
"Taking thugs and wife-beaters off the field may be bad for business, but you are playing games with people's lives," said LePage, who was beaten by his father when he was young and has made domestic abuse prevention and awareness a priority of his administration.
In a radio interview last week, LePage said he would boycott the league, but he didn't specify what that would involve. His administration didn't immediately respond to questions about his plans to boycott.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cassius Marsh, a rookie from UCLA, will undergo an MRI exam after appearing to suffer a knee injury in practice. Marsh was hurt after getting tangled in a pile during Wednesday's practice, the final one before Seattle broke training camp. Marsh had four tackles and a sack in Seattle's preseason-opening loss to Denver. ... The Carolina Panthers had a scare when starting tight end Greg Olsen limped off the practice field and was carted to the locker room during the final practice of training camp. It turned out to be a cramp — a byproduct of the hot and humid temperatures at Wofford, S.C., that were nonexistent for the majority of the 14 practices at Spartanburg, S.C. ... The New England Patriots acquired injured lineman Jerel Worthy from the Green Bay Packers in a trade, pending a physical for the defensive end.