Houston Texans rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. was kicked off the field during a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers on Monday for his physical play.
According to ESPN's Rob Demovsky, Johnson was removed from the practice after he "leveled" two Green Bay players in what was supposed to be a non-tackling session. Per Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Johnson hit Packers tight end Jace Sternberger hard enough to pop his helmet off on one of the plays in question.
That tackle and ensuing celebration led to an on-field scrum:
Houston head coach Bill O'Brien said afterward, per Demovsky, that Johnson's hits were "not a big deal."
Green Bay players felt otherwise.
Packers receiver Davante Adams said, per Demovsky, Johnson's actions were "unnecessary":
"That was unnecessary. You've got plenty of time for that. You can do it in the games and you get fined. Be a coward when you do stuff like that in practice, it's not a good look. We take care of each other up here. I don't know how they practice, I don't know what they do over there, but there's consequences for stuff like that. ... It's a brotherhood across the league, period. I had plenty of times where I could take somebody out but I decided not to because I felt like that's not the appropriate thing to do when we're trying to get better and look out for one another."
"I respect a lot of those guys over there on the Texans; I've played against them quite a bit over my career. Obviously he's a rookie and he needs to know you can't be hitting guys live in practice. That's absolutely ridiculous. And we're not going to stand for that here, obviously. I know his older guys over there are going to be on him about it because my young guy's just running through a zone, obviously. Just run by him. We know you're going to blow him up in a game. This isn't a game. We're going to play on Thursday. You can do that then. It's one of those things, rookie on rookie, but [No.] 32 has to chill out."
First-year Packers coach Matt LaFleur added that there is "no place for that."
Johnson later took to social media to make it clear he was not trying to hurt anyone:
The 23-year-old was taken out of Kentucky in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft.