METAIRIE, La. (AP) -Offensive guard Jahri Evans joined the Saints as a fourth-round draft pick out of Division II Bloomsburg and impressively won a starting job by opening day of his rookie season.
Now in his third year as a pro, he could afford to laugh off a scuffle with Texans defensive end Earl Chochran during a joint practice with Houston on Thursday.
``That's what y'all were waiting for,'' Evans said. ``We gave y'all a show out there. I hope everybody's satisfied.''
Evans was pass blocking during 11-on-11 drills when, according to the Saints' offensive lineman, Cochran ``took a punch at me.''
``I was in there trying to protect myself,'' Evans said.
Evans retaliated with a swipe of his own and Cochran's helmet flew off.
It ended quickly, however, and members of both teams downplayed it.
``It wasn't a bad thing,'' Evans said. ``We've been going up against these guys for two days and we're both out there being physical and, you know, it happens. It's just the nature of the game.''
The Saints host the Texans on Saturday night in a preseason game in the Superdome, so New Orleans coach Sean Payton invited Houston coach Gary Kubiak to bring his team to the Saints' suburban training center on Wednesday and Thursday.
A pair of practices held Wednesday were good-natured, as was most of the final joint practice on Thursday.
``It was too peaceful the first day, so things kind of picked up today,'' joked Houston cornerback Fred Bennett, who intercepted Drew Brees on a deep pass over the middle intended for tight end Billy Miller.
Payton and Kubiak both said they were pleased by the pace and overall professionalism of the joint practices, which helped them further evaluate players competing for playing time and roster spots.
Payton said the scuffle was only a minor distraction.
``If you said ... at the start of this that there was going to be one little skirmish, I think both coaches would've said that was fine,'' Payton said. ``What you don't want is for it to become something really that is a detriment to the practice. ... It wasn't a detriment. It was quick and when it was over, it was over and we went on.''
Evans said he doubted the incident would carry over to the preseason game.
``It's not going to change anything,'' Evans said. ``Obviously we're going to be physical. That's what we do out there in the trenches.''
The teams spent their three practices together working on a variety of one-on-one, seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills, none of which involved tackling, which is common in NFL practices as teams try to avoid injuries.
Bennett said he thought the Texans' defense held up well against Brees and New Orleans' potent offense, but wondered how that would translate in a game.
``It's real strange competing against them all weekend,'' Bennett said. ``At the same time, I'm sure they're not showing us everything that they have, so it's going to be exciting.''
Running back Reggie Bush had a long run after a short pass over the middle on Wednesday, but the Texans won't have to worry about him anymore. Bush was limited in practice Thursday because his left knee was sore, and while he said he hoped to play Saturday, Payton said he probably wouldn't.
Running back Deuce McAllister, however, is expected to play for the first time since tearing left knee ligaments in Week 3 last season.
``I just want to play the game. Just go out there, have fun, be explosive, make some positive plays,'' said McAllister, who has had reconstructive surgery on both knees over the past three seasons. ``It's feeling pretty good - good days and bad days as far as explosion-wise, but it's getting near full.''

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