By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH -- Clifton Geathers is at it again in a supposed non-contact practice for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A sixth-year defensive end, the 6-foot-8, 330-pound Geathers got in a scuffle with several Steelers offensive linemen Tuesday, just like he did during a 2014 practice in early December.
Geathers went at it a little harder than the Steelers offensive linemen expected last year and got into a fistfight with just about every member of that unit. Offensive guard Ramon Foster said he understood that Geathers was working hard to make the team, but the O-line "just played 96 snaps Sunday. So, there's no sense doing that in practice.''
Geathers apparently pushed a Steelers lineman to the ground, and Foster took exception. Others jumped in to overwhelm Geathers. Center Maurkice Pouncey and Geathers where throwing punches Tuesday. Geathers claimed ignorance when asked if he was in the middle of the skirmish, but then offered this:
"Let's put it this way, I wasn't on the bottom,'' Geathers said. That was in stark contrast to last year. Pouncey talked about camaraderie on the O-line.
"We always have to stick up for each other, as a team,'' Pouncey said. "As an offense, you compete, and as a defense, you compete. And at the end of the day, you have to compete against others. It's competition. We don't go out there to patty-cake. Things happen sometimes, and tempers get flared.''
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said it's just part of football.
"It's not something that you embrace, obviously, but it's something that goes with the game,'' Tomlin said. "It's an opportunity to teach, more than anything, and that's the way that I'll approach it.''
That Geathers matchup against the Steelers offensive line might be one to monitor as training camp rolls on beginning next month.