Updated: 11 p.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - It took the next to last practice of training camp, but the Bengals finally had their first intramural scrum Tuesday and it was a donnybrook as wide receiver Chad Johnson and safety Madieu Williams got into it three times.
The first came after Johnson caught a pass in front of cornerback Brandon Williams. He wheeled and whipped the ball at Madieu Williams and after it whizzed by, Madieu went after him and they tangled. After a pause, Johnson charged him and had to be restrained by head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive line coach Jay Hayes with Lewis getting his hat knocked off in the melee.
Then about 20 minutes later quarterback Carson Palmer took a downfield shot at Johnson, but it was overthrown and intercepted by safety Dexter Jackson. Madieu Williams, also converging on the play, then went after Johnson to block on Jackson's runback, and the fists were flying again. Teammates and secondary coaches Kevin Coyle and Louie Cioffi went into a pile to break that one up.
This is, of course, a rite of passage at training camps all over.
True to tradition, Johnson walked off the field with no comment, Madieu Williams said, "I've got nothing for you," and Lewis asked, "What fight?"
Palmer: "We've been in training camp for three weeks. It's part of it, it's nothing to worry about."
Defensive tackle John Thornton said Lewis addressed the issue after practice.
"They're both competitors. It's something Coach doesn't want," he said. "Hopefully it's squashed. That kind of stuff you never want it to spill over. Chad's a real fiery guy and Madieu's not going to back down. Marvin always tells us you don't want to get to a point where you feel like you can't back down from a teammate. I think it's over. Chad was pretty happy after practice. I don't think it's going to spill over into the cafeteria."
JosephINJURY UPDATES: In their next to last training camp session at Georgetown College on Tuesday, the Bengals were without starting cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph and Deltha O'Neal as practice got under way. That seemingly puts Joseph's availability for Saturday's preseason home opener against New Orleans in question. O'Neal is resting his knee, which he has done throughout camp.
Also not on the field Tuesday were wide receivers Glenn Holt and Antonio Chatman, both of whom continue to be on the sidelines with hamstring injuries. Tackle Adam Kieft was back at practice for the first time since suffering a foot injury in the early stages of camp, as was defensive end Frostee Rucker (hamstring).
Cornerback Keiwan Ratliff also didn't work because Lewis said, "He didn't feel well."
Wide receiver Skyler Green said he was going to use the last meeting of training camp Tuesday night to lobby to play some running back as the Bengals cope with the loss of speed back Kenny Irons. But indications from the coaching staff are that it's not going to happen.
FORMER BENGALS RETURN: Word out of New Orleans on Tuesday is that Saints quarterback Drew Brees will play the first quarter of Saturday's game at Paul Brown Stadium. Coach Sean Payton wants backup Jamie Martin to play the second quarter with the starters. The bulk of the second half will be handled by recent pickup Matt Baker.
Baker, a former member of the Cowboys practice squad, was recommeded to Payton by Cowboys starter Tony Romo. Former Bengals Brian Simmons and Kevin Kaesviharn may both play with the second unit. Simmons, backing up middle linebacker Mark Simoneau, might not play until the second half. Kaesviharn is part of a three safety rotation and will see time earlier.