Maryland punter says he was injured in practice altercation after Durkin's brief reinstatement

An altercation broke out among multiple Maryland football players at practice on Tuesday, athletic director Damon Evans said on Wednesday night, adding even more controversy to the turmoil surrounding the Maryland football program.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for our football student-athletes,” Evans said in a statement to the Washington Post. “However, we take any matters involving physical altercations extremely seriously. We are talking with the players involved and will take appropriate actions based on the facts.”

Evans and Maryland did not go into much detail about the altercation, which took place just 24 hours before the university fired football coach DJ Durkin on Wednesday afternoon. Durkin was reinstated on Tuesday after an 80-day administrative leave following the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and allegations that he was running a “toxic” program.

Punter Micheal Barber was the alleged victim in the altercation. Barber told the Baltimore Sun that he had been outed as someone who revealed the myriad problems within Maryland’s football program. Players then went after him for that. From the Sun: 

Barber, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., said word had gotten around on the team that he is a “whistle-blower” who talked to investigators about problems on the team. When Durkin returned to practice Tuesday to watch the team practice, his supporters on the team felt emboldened and began taunting Barber, he said. Some mocked and insulted him, while others threw footballs at him, Barber said.

Toward the end of the practice, another player attacked Barber, attempting to punch him in the face, Barber said. While the two teammates were fighting, others tried to intervene and grabbed Barber’s arms behind his back, he said. That allowed the other player to punch Barber repeatedly in the face, leaving him with a black eye, needing multiple stitches on his forehead and a dislocated shoulder, Barber said.

Barber said he had blood all over his hands after the incident.

While the football program — and the university — has a lot to fix amid the turmoil already swirling around Maryland in recent months, adding a fight between players at practice to the mix certainly isn’t going to make things easier.

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Former Maryland football coach D.J. Durkin
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Former Maryland football coach D.J. Durkin
LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins watches action before the game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins watches action against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Maryland 28-7. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins celebrates with Mike London after a victory against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on November 26, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins is doused with Gatorade after a victory against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on November 26, 2016 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 26: Maryland Terrapins head football coach D. J. Durkin watches the action during the game against the Boston College Eagles at Ford Field on December 26, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 24: Maryland Football head coach DJ Durkin takes questions during the Big 10 Football Media Days on July 24, 2017 at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 02: Head coach D.J. Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins reacts on the sideline in the fourth quarter against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 9: Maryland Terrapins head coach DJ Durkin south from the sidelines during the game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Towson Tigers at Capital One Field on Saturday, September 9, 2017. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 07: Maryland Terrapins head coach DJ Durkin questions an official after his quarterback was injured during third quarter game action between the Maryland Terrapins and the Ohio State Buckeyes (10) on October 7, 2017 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State leads Maryland 55-7 at the end of the third quarter . (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 28: Maryland Terrapins wide receiver D.J. Moore (1) is congratulated by head coach D. J. Durkin after catching a two yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers on October 28, 2017, at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium in College Park, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 28: Under Armour founder Kevin Plank talks with Head Coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins before the game against the Indiana Hoosiers on October 28, 2017 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 25: Maryland Terrapins head coach D. J. Durkin in action on November 25, 2017, at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium in College Park, MD. The Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Maryland Terrapins, 66-3. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
COLLEGE PARK, MD - APRIL 3: Maryland head coach DJ Durkin looks on during spring football practice. (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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