New Orleans Saints rookie offensive tackle Trevor Penning entered the NFL with a reputation for a fiery on-field demeanor that toed the line between playing through the whistle and going overboard.
The Saints are already experiencing that dance with the first-round pick through the early stages of camp.
Penning has been involved in altercations with defensive teammates in the past three practices, including a Wednesday scuffle that saw the rookie and defensive tackle Malcolm Roach kicked out of practice.
“We don’t have time for that,” coach Dennis Allen said, via Katherine Terrell of ESPN. “I sent two guys in today and we’ve got to get our work done. We’ve got to learn as a team how to compete and how to play and how to practice and push ourselves to the limit but yet not take it over the edge.
“It’s not unusual for something like that to occur in training camp. It’s certainly something we don’t want to see happen. It’ll be addressed and we’ll move forward.”
On Monday, Penning and defensive end Payton Turner reportedly threw punches before it was broken up. On Tuesday, the rookie and safety J.T. Gray nearly got into it.
“It’s football. We’re competing,” Penning said Monday. “It’s a tough game for tough people and you’ve got to be able to take that. There’s no bad blood between us. We’re just competitors competing.”
The Northern Iowa product, who is battling James Hurst for left tackle duties, has a knack for irritating defenders. It’s something that drew the Saints to draft him, but they don’t necessarily want it against his teammates.
“It’s part of my game, I think. It’s just how I am as a player,” Penning said Monday of playing through the whistle. “But I’m obviously out there working technique. I’m trying to get better at the technique of the game, getting the blocks down. The finishing ability, that’s what I pride myself in, and that’s always going to be part of my game.”
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