Ngakoue and Fowler exchanged words while walking off the practice field, prompting the first skirmish . Calais Campbell grabbed Ngakoue briefly as Abry Jones and Lerentee McCray held back Fowler. Ngakoue spun away from Campbell and sprinted toward Fowler, but Jones got between them.
Ngakoue and Fowler got into it again outside the practice-field gates and had to be pulled apart by teammates, coaches and security personnel. General manager Dave Caldwell could be seen leading Ngakoue away by the wrist.
The altercation came on the last of 11 consecutive practices in full pads and in sweltering heat and humidity. It also came a few minutes after a scuffle near the end of practice, when Fowler appeared to shove tight end James O’Shaughnessy out of bounds following a reception. Teammates rushed to break it up.
Fowler, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, is in the final year of his rookie contract and due to make $3.64 million. He has 14 sacks the last two seasons, including two in the AFC championship game.
Ngakoue, a third-round pick in 2016 who beat out Fowler for the starting job as a rookie, is due to make $735,000 in base salary in 2018. With 20 sacks and 11 forced fumbles in two seasons, Ngakoue is considered one of the cornerstones of Jacksonville’s vaunted defense.
Fowler was kicked out of a joint practice with Tampa Bay in 2016 and has found plenty of trouble in his first three years in the league.
The former Florida standout was arrested last year after confronting a 55-year-old man who made a comment about his driving. St. Petersburg police said Fowler exchanged words with the man before hitting him and knocking off his glasses. Fowler then stepped on the glasses before taking the man’s grocery bag and tossing it in a lake.
The NFL suspended him without pay for the season opener, a one-game penalty for attacking a man in a parking lot near his hometown in July 2017.
Fowler eventually pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of battery, criminal mischief and petty theft. The case was closed in March, with Fowler sentenced to a year of probation and 75 hours of community service.
The suspension will cost him $214,000.
Fowler also was arrested in Miami Beach in March 2016 and charged with misdemeanor counts of assault against a police officer and resisting arrest without violence. The charges were later dropped. That arrest came a little more than two weeks after a video surfaced showing Fowler refereeing a fight between his girlfriend and an ex-girlfriend. He also has a long list of traffic violations.
He was removed from the physically unable to perform list Saturday, so his altercation with Ngakoue came during his second day of practice. Fowler missed the first two weeks of training camp while recovering from a shoulder injury.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.