NEW ORLEANS It took 13 years to get Florida and Miami back together on the football field and one raucous night to fire them up about their rediscovered rivalry.
A handful of Gators and Hurricanes players were involved in a scuffle on Bourbon Street on Wednesday, the first night both teams were in town to prepare for the Sugar Bowl.
"If this wasn't a rivalry, it's a rivalry now," Florida offensive lineman Kenyatta Walker said. "It's going to be a good game. We've got to go get them."
Florida defensive lineman Gerard Warren and an unidentified teammate were handcuffed, taken to the police station and questioned for about 30 minutes, but no arrests were made and police didn't file a report.
How the fight started and the number of people involved varied depending on whose version was told. An eyewitness account by Orlando Sentinel reporter Joe Schad said as many as 40 players were involved. A statement from police said it was between 10 and 15.
Coaches, players and police all seemed to agree the fight was minor. Miami coach Butch Davis described it as a "minor verbal confrontation," not knowing Florida linebacker Travis Carroll left the scene with a bloodstained shirt and defensive end Alex Brown had a puffy eye.
"He had a little scuffle mark on him," Florida coach Steve Spurrier said.
The fight may have added new passion to a rivalry that went on hiatus in 1987 when Florida took Miami off its schedule. Few of the current players viewed this rivalry with the same seriousness as they took their annual meetings with Florida State.
That may change when the Sugar Bowl is played Tuesday night.
"I guess by last night's events, the rivalry is back, sort of to where it used to be," Spurrier said.
Brown, Reche Caldwell, Gerard Warren, Jabar Gaffney and Andra Davis were among the Florida players involved, according to the Sentinel.
Reporter Brian London from WQAM radio in Miami, the flagship station for the Hurricanes, witnessed the verbal confrontation that led to the fight a few minutes later. London said Miami players involved in the shouting included Al Blades, James Lewis, Troy Prasek, Jarvis Gray and Jim Wilson.
"I heard it was a verbal altercation and they did what police asked them to do, which was to walk away from it," Butch Davis said. "Our players were very, very proactive in getting out of there, getting to the team hotel. I'm proud of our team."
Warren and the other Florida player, not identified by New Orleans police, were taken to the police station for questioning. Warren declined comment. Spurrier said he wouldn't be so quick to condemn his star defensive lineman.
"Was Gerard bad for pulling a guy out from five or six of them?" Spurrier said. "You've got to get a guy who wasn't a Gator or Hurricane to tell you what happened. All we can do is say what we know. I'm sure they have their side of the story."
Davis said there was no reason to discipline his players. Spurrier doesn't plan on punishing his players unless he gets solid information that shows one of them did wrong.
New Orleans police confirmed a fight broke out on Bourbon Street around 11:15 p.m. and involved several individuals. When police responded, a number of people fled.
No injuries were reported and nobody filed a complaint, so police spokesman Sgt. Paul Accardo said there was no reason to file any paperwork.
The Sentinel reported the confrontation began when a Miami player poured a drink over Caldwell's head, then escalated when several Hurricanes players started yelling at Gaffney.
Gators linebacker Andra Davis accused Blades of starting the fight.
Butch Davis tried to keep Miami players off limits after practice Thursday, although Blades did field a question about his role in the fight.
"I have no comment," Blades said. "They can say whatever they want to say."