The wideout grudge-bout rematch of champion Emmanuel “Easy Money’’ Sanders vs. challenger Courtland “Megatron Jr.’’ Sutton could be promoted as “The S&S Brawl: Back-Alley at Dove Valley.’’
Broncos practice was Mundane Monday until an episode of “Celebrity Big Brother Meets Bachelors In Paradise’’ broke out. Wide receivers No. 1 and 1A (the order depending on which is doing the rating) got into a reality-show fight of furious exchanges, fists and water bottles.
It’s not enough that rookie coach Vic Fangio is suffering with a kidney stone; now, his two offensive luminaries were about to give him an ulcer. The pair of wild horses — once Mustangs at SMU who became Broncos in Denver — were yelling, scrapping, punching and making a mockery of the workout and spectacles of themselves in front of the hillside fans, media, coaches and the other players.
The conflict wasn’t Creed and Conlan, but it certainly interrupted the monotony.
Skirmishes between defensive and offensive linemen — goliaths being gladiators — are not unusual. But two starting wide receivers?
“That’s a first,’’ quarterback Joe Flacco said Tuesday. “I’ve never seen that before.’’ I asked Joe if he’d ever gotten into a fight with another quarterback. He promptly responded “No’’ and that he was a guy “who would be running away.’’
Eyewitnesses and evidence proved that Sanders — 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, wearing the orange-sparked cleats and fighting out of Bellville, Texas — was the instigator against the younger 6-4, 216-pound Sutton, who represents Brenham, Texas, and was in the blue cleats.
Sanders was agitated that the offense was continuing to commit mistakes and screamed that Sutton hadn’t accomplished anything in the NFL. Sutton vehemently disagreed.
Ring judges Fangio, Flacco and (Royce) Freeman would have ruled it a draw.
The Broncos obviously need to play against fresh NFL meat. The Seahawks will be the opponents Thursday night. Never forget 48-3 in Super Bowl 48.
When practice began Tuesday the media were poised, primed and perched to watch all interactions of S&S. What would the two do?
This Tuesday morning attraction was reminiscent of a practice I attended outside Lillehammer, Norway, on Feb. 17, 1994 — as Nancy Kerrigan shared the ice with Tonya Harding as they prepared for the Winter Olympics. We watched and wondered if they would shake hands, touch, stare or glare or possibly collide.
Nothing bizarre happened as they skated past each other.
Nothing curious occurred during the Broncos workout, either, as Sutton and Sanders went through their drills, reps and catches.
At practice end, they walked off together and talked before stopping in front of the press parasites. Emmanuel said: “Let me start this,’’ and he jokingly offered that the pay-per-view of their second fight would cost “$69.99.’’ The veteran was attempting to defuse the situation.
Then he turned serious. “It stands good. Obviously, we’re family. We went to the same school, grew up in the same area. It’s a miscommunication. ... We’re back on the same page trying to be the best receivers in the world. Sometimes through failure is growth. And I feel like me and him have grown through this in terms of bringing that dawg out even more and just (be) ready to win and ready to tear it up.’’
Courtland took the pass. “I think what Emmanuel said is right on point. We’re brothers at the end of the day. ... This is a dude I looked up to, a dude I’ve been watching for a long time, chasing his records, and getting here and following in his footsteps. We’re moving on to bigger and better things.’’
The back story is that on April 2, while Emmanuel was rehabilitating from a torn Achilles that kept him out of the final four games of ’18, Courtland said he embraced being the Broncos’ top receiver in ’19. “In the No. 1 role, you can’t go into a game and have one or two catches. You have to go into a game and be that guy. I accept that role.’’
Sanders, who is ahead of schedule and should be a starter on opening night, has been critical of younger players, including first-round tight end Noah Fant.
In a perfect world, Sanders and Sutton would accumulate stats to replicate what Sanders and Sutton’s predecessor, Demaryius Thomas, accomplished from 2014-2016 when they combined for 562 receptions, 7,577 yards and 43 touchdowns.
If Sanders can come back with a thousand-yard season and Sutton can come up from 42 catches, 704 yards and four touchdowns, the pair will be BFF.