BOURBONNAIS -- Coach Marc Trestman was angry enough to end the competitive part of Monday's practice early, immediately after it became too competitive between seventh-year veteran tight end Martellus Bennett and rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Fuller, reaching in with one hand to rip the ball away after Bennett caught a short pass, got all ball and may have brushed the tight end's shoulder pads. Bennett hung on to the ball, but the force of Fuller's strip attempt spun the 265-pound tight end to the ground. Bennett jumped up and body-slammed the 190-pound corner, as teammates rushed in to neutralize the situation.
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It was near enough to the end of practice on a hot, muggy day for an aggravated Trestman to end it.
"I felt it was important to get the team together and resolve some issues and we'll move forward from there," Trestman said. "That's football, and I'll leave it at that."
Trestman wouldn't assess any blame, but it was clear that Fuller's play was legit, while Bennett would have been penalized and possibly ejected for his behavior.
The lack of discipline by a veteran player is unjustified and inexcusable, and wide receiver Brandon Marshall was in Bennett's face immediately to let him know as much.
Bennett declined to speak after practice but later was asked if he feared a fine from Trestman.
"I can afford it," Bennett said. "I don't see what he can fine me for on that."
A fine is unlikely, but Trestman is sure to make the point to Bennett that, if he gets tossed in a regular-season game, there's a large drop-off in pass-catching ability from him to whoever winds up as the Bears' No. 2 tight end.
Fuller was doing exactly what the Bears emphasize in every practice -- trying to strip the ball.
"Yeah, we do emphasize stripping the ball on every play regardless of the situation," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "Sometimes things happen and they do get heated, and we learn from it. Guys are very competitive. But this team has always been able to move on to the next play, and that's what we're going to do."
Fuller downplayed the incident.
"Just going for the ball," he said. "Just a football play. Stuff like that happens."
Bennett's explanation was more like gibberish. Asked what happened on the play, he launched into an unrelated soliloquy.
"I come to training camp to one reason, and that's to prepare to win a championship," he said. "Every single play I'm scratching and fighting for it. The same way I play every single day. I play hard, go hard every single day. I'm probably one of the most violent people on the field. That's just my style of play. That's how I play. I'm going to continue to play the way I play.
"Everybody's talking about friendships. Really, we're all preparing for a championship. If we make friends along the way, that's cool. But at the end of the day, I'm just trying to help the Bears win a championship and the do the job to the best of my ability."
Ultimately, Trestman chalked it up to a family squabble.
"We really are a family," Trestman said. "Family's fight. There are disciplinary issues, certainly, in terms of hurting the football team. This would resonate on a Sunday afternoon. It hurts your football team dramatically, and our players understand that.
"We understand that people get to that place sometimes where we've got to let them cool down, and that's what we did today."