As National Football League history has shown us, just because guys are teammates doesn't mean they get along. Yes, the NFL is a brotherhood, but anyone with siblings knows, even brothers can get into fights.
Sometimes it comes in the form of the silent treatment, while other times it shows up in an argument, whether it be on the field or during an interview afterward. In some of the more extreme instances, players will actually come to blows, with one situation on this list involving an actual stabbing.
The pressure of being in the NFL and having success can become too big for players to handle, thus these situations can escalate rather quickly. Sometimes all it takes is one tiny thing to totally set two enemies who are on the same team off and pit them against one another. Not only is it bad for the players involved, but it can also have a negative impact on the rest of the team.
Whatever the case may be, beef happens all the time between teammates and in the grand scheme of things, the vast majority of these beefs are based on ridiculous things.
How ridiculous, you ask? How about breaking your teammates' jaw over him not paying you back for a plane ticket? Or stabbing someone on your own team because you wanted to get a haircut before him?
That's just some of the scenarios you can expect to read in this list, so keep scrolling to learn of the 15 cases in which NFL teammates absolutely hated each other.
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15 Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler
Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler were teammates with the Denver Broncos from 200 to 2008, then with Chicago Bears from 2012 to 2014, but their relationship soured after a strong start together. Marshall enjoyed two stellar seasons his first two years with the Bears, notching 1,508 yards in his first campaign and 1,295 yards in his second. Somewhere along the line things went south and Marshall and Cutler did not like each other at the tail end.
This became apparent after Marshall left the Bears to play for the New York Jets. Marshall told the media that he and Cutler did not get along towards the end because he was the only one on the team willing to hold Cutler responsible for the team’s poor performance. When asked about it in 2016, Marshall revealed he was no longer speaking to Cutler during the pair’s final season together and the two hadn’t talked since his leaving Chicago. Cutler later responded by equating his situation with Marshall to a breakup with a girlfriend.
14 Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens
Things really went south between Philadelphia Eagles teammates Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb after the controversial wide receiver took a shot at the quarterback during an interview with Michael Irvin on ESPN. Owens claimed that the Eagles would be better off with Brett Favre as the quarterback, as opposed to McNabb himself.
While Owens took other shots at McNabb between the 2004 and 2005 seasons, it was this comment that hit McNabb the hardest. The former Eagles signal-caller not only took it personal, he also admitted he took it as a “black-on-black crime” because Owens chose a white quarterback over him. The comment also caused a rift in the locker room and it led to the unraveling of the Eagles’ 2005 season in which the team finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs. Following the disappointing campaign, Owens was released by Philly and moved on to play for the Dallas Cowboys.
13 Percy Harvin and Golden Tate/Doug Baldwin
Former Seattle Seahawks wideout Percy Harvin fought two different teammates during his time with the team. The first happened the night before Super Bowl XLVIII, when Harvin and Golden Tate came to blows at the team’s hotel. Harvin not only body slammed Tate, but he also gave him a black eye during the scuffle.
Another altercation involved a spat with Doug Baldwin in the team’s locker room prior to a preseason game in Oakland in August of 2014. While the specifics of the cause of the fight aren’t known, both players have admitted it happened and other teammates in the locker room had to separate the two players. Not long after his second brawl with a teammate, Harvin was shipped out of town to the New York Jets, thus ending the headache Harvin had become to the Seahawks.
12 Bill Romanowski and Marcus Williams
One block by Marcus Williams on Bill Romanowski proved to be a costly one for the former Oakland Raiders tight end. During a play at practice, Williams released upfield after the ball was snapped and drove Romanowski toward the sideline. Romanowski then grabbed Williams, who grabbed back, and punched the tight end square in his face after his helmet had come off.
The blow left Williams unconscious for a brief time and he suffered a chipped tooth and a broken eye socket. The injury to his eye socket was all that was needed to end his career prematurely, thanks to the notoriously hot-headed Romanowski. Williams later filed a lawsuit against Romanowski seeking damages, but only $340,000 was awarded to Williams despite him seeking nearly $4 million in damages. Romanowski’s reckless act ended another man’s career, giving Williams every right to despise his former teammate.
11 Peyton Manning and Mike Vanderjagt
The best way to get yourself in trouble is to go after your team’s franchise quarterback and the head coach. That’s exactly what kicker Mike Vanderjagt did after a playoff loss that ended Indy’s 2002 season. Vanderjagt said that head coach Tony Dungy was too mellow and also questioned Peyton Manning’s leadership. The then-Colts quarterback didn’t take those comments lightly and fired back that Vanderjagt was an “idiot” who got “liquored up and ran his mouth.”
In what must have been an awkward situation, Manning and Vanderjagt remained teammates for three more seasons after the pair exchanged verbal blows through the media. Following the 2005 season, Vanderjagt was no longer on the Colts and Manning and his bad leadership skills went on to win a Super Bowl in Indianapolis with kicker Adam Vinatieri in Super Bowl XLI versus the Chicago Bears. Vanderjagt went on to play for the Cowboys in 2006, his final year in the league.
10 Jay Cutler and J’Marcus Webb
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has no shortage of enemies in the NFL, but one of the most visible signs of hatred came from him in 2012. In what was a brutal game for Cutler, the Bears signal-caller yelled at and bumped his offensive lineman, J’Marcus Webb, after getting sacked to end a series. The tirade was visible to everyone watching on television and it was widely criticized by people around the league.
Although Webb could have killed Cutler, he simply smiled back at his quarterback and kept it moving. Cutler would later apologize for bumping Webb, but didn’t regret shouting him down while walking off the field. Cutler’s night got worse and worse after that, as he finished with four picks and was sacked seven times in total by the Green Bay Packers. It isn’t hard to suspect that his teammates weren’t blocking for him as hard that night after Cutler showed up his own teammate.
9 Geno Smith and IK Enemkpali
Just one month before the 2015 season started, New York Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith had his jaw broken by linebacker IK Enemkpali in the team’s locker room. The story goes that Enemkpali had purchased a $600 plane ticket for Smith to come to his football camp, but Smith never showed for personal reasons. As a result of his no-show, the former Jets linebacker wanted to be reimbursed for the plane ticket and Smith simply didn’t repay him in time, even though he intended to eventually.
Enemkpali then proceeded to break Smith’s jaw, forcing him to miss a significant amount of time. What’s worse for Smith is that he lost his starting job to fellow quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who went on to have a career year as he led the Jets to a 10-6 season, barely missing the playoffs. New York decided to part ways with Enemkpali after the incident and he went on to sign with the Buffalo Bills, coached by former Jets head coach Rex Ryan. During the two teams’ first meeting that season, Enemkpali was named as the Bills’ co-captain for the game. Talk about throwing shade at your former team.
8 Riley Cooper and Cary Williams
A racist tirade in 2013 from Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper was caught on camera when he attended a concert made the entire world hate his guts, but it was cornerback Cary Williams who really let him have it. In a fight that was caught on video, Williams and Cooper got into it during practice after the cornerback clearly wanted to make a statement that he didn’t appreciate Cooper’s racist comments.
Despite being an utter embarrassment to the Eagles and the NFL as a whole, Cooper remained on the Eagles through the 2015 season, and even had his best year as a pro the same year he made an absolute fool of himself. Williams, on the other hand, stuck with Philly through the 2014 season and moved on to play for the Seattle Seahawks in 2015, his final season in the NFL. Ironically enough, both players have yet to play another snap following the 2015 campaign.
7 Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin
It was a story that rocked the football world. Former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito was reportedly harassing his teammate and fellow lineman Jonathan Martin, who suffered a mental breakdown and left the team. Incognito, along with Mike Pouncey and John Jerry, called Martin several names on a regular basis, including using gay slurs. From there, Incognito took it to a more personal level and even took shots at Martin’s sister, mostly with sexual references.
Incognito’s abuse didn’t stop at just Martin. He also allegedly joined in with Pouncey and Jerry to harass an assistant trainer, who was Japanese. The trio fired racial slurs at the trainer and threatened to retaliate on the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Once the allegations involving Martin came to light and a review of the situation was done, Incognito was suspended by the team. He was later reinstated by the NFL and signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2015 after more than a year out of the sport. As far as Martin is concerned, he never recovered from the incident and would play just one more season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2014. Martin and Incognito never made amends, and Martin has no desire to do so to this day.
6 Brian Cushing and Antonio Smith
In what was one of the most bizarre instances of two teammates fighting, linebacker Brian Cushing and defensive end Antonio Smith got into it with each other after what was a positive play for the Houston Texans. After a sack of Tennessee Titans quarterback Kerry Collins during a game in 2010, Cushing attempted to break up a scuffle between Smith and Titans offensive lineman Leroy Harris.
In the process of trying to separate his own teammate, Smith exploded on Cushing and ripped his helmet off, resulting in a 15-yard penalty for the Texans. The only thing that was accomplished was both players giving the NFL money, as Cushing and Smith were fined $25,000 for their ridiculous fight. We’ve heard of teammates getting into fights during practice or on the sidelines, but never on the field during an actual game.
5 Robert Griffin III and Washington Redskins Players
During his first season with the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III was pegged as the savior of the franchise. He led the Redskins to the playoffs in his rookie campaign and the future looked bright despite his knee issues. Fast forward a few years and it didn’t take long for Griffin III’s teammates to hate his guts.
In an interview done by his former teammate, tight end Chris Cooley, it was revealed that the team’s offensive line, wide receivers, and much of the rest of the team hated the quarterback. Cooley noted that the offensive line took blame that it didn't feel it deserved for not protecting RG3 properly, mostly because a lot of the sacks were considered RG3’s fault for holding the ball too long. And, when Griffin didn’t come to his offensive line’s defense, it angered his teammates. RG3 would eventually lose his starting job to fellow quarterback Kirk Cousins, with whom he also had problems with, and signed with the Cleveland Browns for the 2016 season.
4 Steve Smith and Ken Lucas
Wide receiver-cornerback feuds in the NFL are nothing new, but it isn't often that it happens between two guys on the same team. During the Carolina Panthers’ 2008 training camp, wide receiver Steve Smith blasted cornerback Ken Lucas with a punch to the face, leaving the starting cornerback holding an ice pack on his left eye with a visible mark. Lucas would then be carted to the locker room following the blow.
The funny thing is, neither player was on the field when this happened. Lucas and Smith were both standing on the sidelines taking a breather when the scuffle broke out. Numerous players and even head coach John Fox attempted to break it up, but were unsuccessful until linebacker Jon Beason helped out. Smith ended up getting a two-game suspension for his efforts, while Lucas suffered a broken nose. Even though it didn’t escalate until then, Lucas and Smith were notorious for trash-talking each other while at practice from the time Lucas joined the Panthers in 2005. It took three years, but things finally came to a head between the two, with Smith emerging victorious.
3 Michael Westbrook and Stephen Davis
During practice in 1997, Washington Redskins teammates Michael Westbrook and Stephen Davis got into a brawl that was caught on camera. As the story goes, according to Westbrook himself, the Redskins receiver told teammates Brian Mitchell, Terry Allen and Davis that they were jealous of him for what he had.
Davis then went on to tell Westbrook to shut up and implied that Westbrook was soft by calling him “gay," to which Westbrook didn’t take kindly to. The result was a brawl that ensued with Westbrook jumping on top of Davis and pounding him in the face repeatedly. After news of the reason behind the fight broke, rumors spread that Westbrook was indeed a homosexual, which he denied and later claimed that the words were taken out of context. Westbrook was later fined $50,000 for his actions, but the pair remained teammates through the 2001 season.
2 Michael Irvin and Everett McIver
Some guys fight with their fists, but Michael Irvin plays for keeps. That was apparent in 1998 when Irvin stabbed his own teammate with a pair of scissors during training camp before the season. The victim was guard Everett McIver, who got into a spat with Irvin over a haircut. While McIver was already in the chair getting his cut, Irvin expected the younger player to vacate the seat and claimed seniority as his reasoning. After three attempts to get McIver out of the chair, Irvin snapped.
McIver got out of the chair to shove Irvin, but Irvin responded by jigging McIver in the neck with a pair of scissors, ironically enough. The stabbing resulted in a two-inch deep cut above McIver’s collarbone that barely missed his carotid artery, which could have killed him as blood reportedly spurted everywhere. Irvin would go on to record another 1,000-yard season and suffered a career-ending neck injury in 1999, while McIver stuck with the Cowboys through the 1999 season and later retired.
1 Steve Young and Joe Montana
Once the San Francisco 49ers made the trade that brought Steve Young in, he and Joe Montana never got along. Montana, who was dealing with elbow problems before his departure, felt he was usurped by Young and that was the biggest factor in him being traded to the Kansas City Chiefs before the 1993 season. After all, it was suspected that Young was brought in to replace Montana in the first place, not to back him up.
Niners president Carmen Policy noted that the situation involving Montana and Young had become so divisive that he had to make the move to trade Montana. Stories suggest that Young and Montana had a strained relationship that grew more and more icy as time went on. The pair of signal-callers barely spoke to each other, and there was never a chance the two would get along from the beginning. While Montana’s ending in San Fran was ugly, he did win four Super Bowls during his time there, with Young winning one of his own. The two will be forever linked as a result of their success and unmitigated hatred for one another.
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