METAIRIE, La. ― On the 21st day of New Orleans' 2010 training camp, the long-awaited skirmishes finally broke out at 9:05 a.m.

And least surprising of all was that it started on the field where the Saints' first-team defense was practicing against Houston's first-team offense.

Seconds later, a little scrum broke out on the other field. Rookie offensive lineman Matt Tennant swung at Houston's Pannel Egboh. Shortly thereafter, undrafted rookie free agent Brandon Carter and the Texans' Kevin Bentley got into it.

'It's going to happen,' running back Pierre Thomas said. 'It's a physical game. We're not real worried about it. We talk to those guys on the sideline. Most of them we're good friends with off the field and on the field.

'But it's a competitive sport, so you're going to have those scuffles or arguments and everything. When it comes down to it, we're just going to finish it off in the game.'

That it took so long surprised some of the players, who said they expected the fights to happen much earlier in camp. That there were no fights last week when the Saints practiced at New England shouldn't be a surprise.

They were up there on a goodwill mission, apparently.

'In New England, we kind of went up there on a peace treaty,' center Nick Leckey said. 'You don't want to fight or anything like that and mess up things.'

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