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Saints First-Round Pick Sends Clear Message After Training Camp Fights

A general shot of two Saints helmets during a game.

FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Saints helmets during a game between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints on September 26, 2021 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New Orleans Saints first-round pick Trevor Penning has developed quite the reputation in his NFL career so far.

The rookie offensive lineman has already been the focal point of several training camp fights — including one that got him kicked out of practice on Wednesday.

This breaking point for the Saints coaching staff came after Penning caused scuffles in three-straight training camp practices.

While the 23-year-old lineman has already faced some consequences for his actions, he said he doesn't plan on taking the physicality out of his game.

“You’ve just got to play smart,” Penning said Thursday, per the team's website. “Play physical, play my game, but be smart. I think, personally, I went to the whistle, I played my game and we’re competing. Football is physical, it’s tough. There’s maybe a couple that were like, ‘OK, I gotta maybe chill.’ Coaches said that. They were like, ‘You can’t do that.’ I’m like, ‘OK.’ Then you learn from it, and you get better from it but I’m not going to take away the physical part of my game. I’m going to be smart with it.”

Penning said he's heard from coaches about where he needs to draw the line with his physicality, but he's not planning on deviating too far from the play style that earned him the No. 19 overall pick in this year's draft.

“There's nothing’s nice about football,” he added.

Penning will have a chance to take out his aggression on a non-teammate during a preseason matchup against the Houston Texans tomorrow night.