As both a wide receiver and a trash talker, DeAndre Hopkins is an unequivocal football artist, and through the years, he has done some of his best work at preseason inter-squad practices. Who can forget the famous sequence from Hard Knocks in 2015 when Hopkins told the Redskins bench that he only fears God, before snapping DeAngelo Hall's leg like a twig?
Good stuff! Fun!
Well, now three years later, the San Francisco 49ers are in town for a couple of practices before they hook up with the Texans for a preseason game this Saturday night at NRG Stadium. After nearly three weeks of mostly padless practices with minimal hitting, it would stand to reason that the Texans were ready to pop someone in the mouth yesterday. It was Hopkins who would do the honors.
Early in practice, like first-set-of-drills early, Hopkins was going one on one with Niners defensive back Jimmie Ward. It's hard to tell if it was done maliciously, but Ward knocked Hopkins helmet from off his skull, and it all rolled downhill, quite literally, from there...
For just 24 seconds of footage, there's a lot going on here, so let's do our first ever "Texans training camp fight" Zapruder analysis of the video, shall we?
0:00 — Hopkins and Ward are squared off, looking intense. Big moment for Ward, who was a first round pick for the Niners in the stacked 2014 draft. He's getting a chance to go against, perhaps, the best receiver in the league. Hopkins uses his hands to shoo Ward away on the snap of the ball. When he stops and turns around to catch the pass from Deshaun Watson, Ward's right hand knocks Hopkins' helmet off his head. Then it gets chippy quick.
0:07 — Ward doesn't even give Hopkins a chance to pick up his helmet. Instead, he reaches in and gives Hopkins a pot shot on the shoulder, Hopkins quickly takes exception, and it's on. Hopkins shoves back, and follows up with an incredibly stupid left to Ward's HELMET COVERED head. Someone tell D-Hop a broken hand is bad for a wide receiver, please! (Although if one wide receiver might be able to play one handed and still be fairly successful, it's Hopkins.)
0:10 — Ward catches Hopkins with a quick left hand, stuns him and then climbs on top of him and starts whaling on him. Literally three 49ers jump in, including Richard Sherman, who makes the veteran move of putting his helmet on before entering the fray. Nice work.
0:13 — Random Team Employee is in way over his head and takes a spill to the ground. That dude is lucky he didn't catch any friendly (or unfriendly) fire. Eventually, it turns into a giant pull-apart, but I must say that I am not a fan of all of those people landing on top of DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins was given an early exit from practice, which, given the 95 degree temperatures, was probably more of a gift than a punishment. The two teams resume practice again this morning at 9 a.m. We will have coverage of any and all fights right here in this space on Friday.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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